Holiday in the City full of seasonal fun for everyone

Glistening lights. Holiday music. And a collection of more than a month full of events and activities for you, your family and friends to enjoy throughout Downtown Springfield and beyond.

This year’s annual Holiday in the City celebration kicks of with the Grand Illumination celebration – during which Santa arrives and the tree on the Esplanade between COhatch and the Courtyard by Marriott is lit – starts at 6 p.m., Friday, Nov. 25.

“The reason why Holiday in the City is such an important event for the community is that it gets everyone Downtown and around Springfield to celebrate the holidays with all these events they might not have even known existed in our town,” says Ashten Housman, downtown events programmer for The Greater Springfield Partnership.

Also kicking off on Nov. 25 is the opening of the outdoor ice rink sponsored by Speedway on City Hall Plaza. The ice rink will be open Thursdays from 5 to 8 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 5 to 9 p.m. and Sundays from 5 to 8 p.m. through Jan. 1.

Guests Downtown during the Grand Illumination can also enjoy a special guest skater and live music at The Market Bar inside COhatch.

Also that night, Houseman says many local businesses and restaurants will be open late to join in the celebration.

The fun continues Saturday, Nov. 26, with Small Business Saturday shopping and an ugly Christmas sweater karaoke event at The Market Bar from 7 to 9 p.m.

“It all comes back to supporting local, eating local, shopping local, living local, and being proud of our community,” Houseman says. “Holiday in the City gets everyone into the spirit of the holiday.”

Just a few of the many other events throughout the five-week-long celebration include:Holiday in the City also includes a variety of Santa and Grinch appearances, carriage rides, holiday concerts, incredible performances, arts and crafts events, and much more.

“Holiday in the City offers a full calendar of things to do, get people moving and out of the house to explore their city,” Houseman says. “It’s really exciting to see the joy of people planning to see the lights, take a carriage ride, go to the skating rink, and really look forward to enjoying their Downtown.”

The lights and holiday sounds will full Downtown throughout the season, and holiday carolers will also perform on the Esplanade at scheduled times. For the most up-to-date details about Holiday in the City events, visit the HITC Facebook event page.

“Springfield is springing forward in the fastest, most beautiful way I could ever imagin. We’re a force to be reckoned with,” Houseman says. “There’s no way anyone could look at the calendar and say there’s nothing to do in Springfield.

“We should be proud of the leaps and bounds we have made and are making to build our city into a destination.”

Read more articles by Natalie Driscoll.