SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — Memorial Holiday Fest, organized by the Springfield Memorial Foundation, will feature a festive cornucopia of community events and family activities on Saturdays and Wednesday evenings between November 27 and December 22 downtown.
“We’re excited to share the Memorial Holiday Fest with our community,” said Melissa Hansen Schmadeke, executive director of the Springfield Memorial Foundation. “Families will discover a host of familiar activities as well as exciting new offerings.”
The theme for the premier holiday event is “A Season for Caring.”
Returning to the Memorial Holiday Fest will be creatively decorated trees on display, peppered throughout downtown in storefronts, restaurants and banks. Wreaths will be on display at the Illinois State Museum on Spring Street, and student-decorated trees will be spotlighted at Illinois National Bank on Capitol Avenue.
A map with the location of the trees and other sites will be available on the foundation’s website.
Visits with Santa Claus will be held on the lawn of the Old State Capitol. Santa will be available from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. on Saturdays and from 4 to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays. Parents can take their own photos of their kids with Santa. Children visiting Santa will receive a bag of prizes.
The Gingerbread Village will be on display in the lobby of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum on Sixth Street. The museum will extend its hours of operation to 7 p.m. on the Saturdays and Wednesdays of the Memorial Holiday Fest. On those days, from 4 to 7 p.m., admission to the museum will be free with a donation of personal care items, which will go toward the Springfield Salvation Army Warming Center.
Families attending the Memorial Holiday Fest can pick up Polar Passports for their children. When they visit four specific destinations, they can receive a stamp on their passports. The four locations are the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, the Old State Capitol, Kidzeum and the Illinois State Museum. With all four destinations stamped, children can turn their passports in at the Hoogland Center for the Arts on Sixth Street, where they’ll be entered into a drawing for free passes to the Kidzeum.
The Hoogland Teens will create a living window display at the Hoogland Center for the Arts based on Disney’s Frozen including Elsa, Anna, Olaf, Sven the Reindeer and Kristoff. Times are 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturdays and 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Wednesdays. Carolers will sing outside the Hoogland for individuals dropping off their Polar Passports.
Free carriage rides will be available from 2 to 7 p.m. on Saturdays and from 4 to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays. People can catch the rides at 1 North Old State Capitol Plaza. Rides leave every 10 minutes. To adhere to COVID-19 safety guidelines, only families of four or fewer members can ride together.
A Warming Tree will be on display at the downtown YMCA on Fourth Street. It will be decorated with scarves, hats and mittens. Families in need will be able to take items from the tree. Another tree built by The Springfield Art Association will also be on display. It’s a tree made out of books. People can view it at the Lincoln Library on Seventh Street.
Families can also take their kids to several Holiday Fest activities in Kidzeum on Adams Street.
The holiday fest activities are free with paid admission to Kidzeum. On the first floor, children can make potholders adorned with their handprints. Times are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays and from 4 to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays. Other arts and crafts will be available. The Sock Skating Rink will be on the third floor of Kidzeum during the same time.
Downtown Springfield Inc.’s (DSI’s) Old Capitol Holiday Walk is an opportunity for people to visit downtown, shop and eat in locally-owned stores and restaurants. Times are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays and 4 to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays. Shoppers can earn “red tickets” for purchases at a downtown business, which they can enter for a chance to win up to $1,000.
Free parking will be available at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Horace Mann, the Hoogland Center for the Arts and downtown meters. Golf carts will be on hand to assist people with mobility issues from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays. There will also be a shuttle that continuously circles the event area from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays.
Streets will be closed on Saturdays during the Memorial Holiday Fest. The boundaries are Washington Street to the north, Sixth Street to the east, Monroe Street to the south and Fifth Street to the west. The east-west Adams Street between Fifth and Sixth streets will also be closed.