Mayor’s Tree Lighting Ceremonies Saturday welcome elementary children
With help from expected throngs of local elementary school students, Springfield Mayor Bob Stephens will signal the start of the holiday season at 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19, by lighting a 33-foot Norway spruce in Jordan Valley Park, east of Mediacom Ice Park, located at 635 E. Trafficwa, at the annual Mayor’s Tree Lighting Ceremony. The musical tree and surrounding park will be lit up with thousands of lights.
Hundreds of children are expected to attend the tree-lighting ceremony, which will include live music, a visit from Santa Claus and other celebrity guests, including everyone’s favorite winter princesses. Santa’s mailbox (a decked-out mailbox provided by the U.S. Postal Service) returns, on-site Saturday night only, for children to send their letters to Santa.
Mediacom Ice Park, owned and operated by the Springfield/Greene County Parks Department, will again offer free ice skating, 5:45-6:45 p.m. that evening. Skate rental is $2.50. Free parking is available at Mediacom Ice Park and Hammons Field. Convenient parking is also available for a fee at the Jordan Valley Car Park on Trafficway.
A bit later at 7 p.m. Saturday, Springfield’s Park Central Square will host another tree lighting ceremony, along with horse-drawn carriage rides and hot cocoa and Christmas carols.
Meanwhile, Ozark’s annual Christmas parade is Saturday evening at 5 p.m. around the historic town square to highlight the sparkle of the holidays.. This year’s theme is A Star Spangled Christmas.
Bass Pro Shops will be hosting Santa’s Wonderland-A Classic Christmas for the ninth year at Springfield’s Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, the mother ship of the expanding fishing and hunting juggernaut. Each year, Santa’s Wonderland dazzles visitors with its variety of animated Christmas characters in addition to nutcrackers, reindeer and live Christmas elves. Kids can also spend time at one of the activity tables where they can write a letter to Santa, color and do fun crafts, all for free through Christmas Eve.