About 3,000 spectators joined Mayor Ken McClure on Park Central Saturday night as he kicked off the holiday season with the annual Mayor's Tree Lighting and Holiday Show.

Springfield Ballet and Springfield Little Theatre's YES Troupe, along with dance troupes with Grupo Latino Americano and Studio Vie, jazz musician Shawn Munday, the Hibernotes, Central High School Choir, singers Jessie Cowen, Emalee Flatness and Matthew Hutchemann and Michael Spyres with Ozarks Lyric Opera; and Springfield Symphony Orchestra, performed holiday favorites.

The annual event has grown tremendously over the past few years, morphing from primarily a children's event to one which captures the attention of the entire community and draws spectators from around the region.

Like last year, citizens had the option of watching the show live on KY3 or coming down to the square to see the broadcast on a jumbo screen followed by the live tree lighting. Pre-show activities on the square included Selfies with Santa, a free SGF Holiday Express train around the square, free horse and carriage rides courtesy of the Downtown Community Improvement District, free hot chocolate, candy canes and cookies. Jordan Valley Ice Park offered free ice skating that evening. The tree and other lights at the square come on each night at dusk, as do the lights at Jordan Valley Park, 635 E. Trafficway.

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A few stats:
  • 344 Selfies with Santa
  • 674 train rides
  • 1,500 cups of hot chocolate
  • 1,000 cookies
  • 1 costumed Buddy the Elf
  • 2 costumed snowmen
  • 1 top hat
  • 1 red cape.

The Mayor's Commission on Children provided free copies of the book "Twas the Night Before Christmas" at Park Central Library at readings after the tree lighting.

The event also serves to encourage donations to OPAL (Ozarks Performing Arts League). OPAL has a fund managed by the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. All donations are processed through the CFO site and disbursed equally by the CFO to OPAL members.

For more information about OPAL, visit or call 417-864-6199.


For more information, please contact Cora Scott at 417-380-3352.

Filed Under: Government, City

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