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Memorial Holiday Fest brings family-friendly activities to downtown Springfield | Community

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) — Memorial Holiday Fest will unleash its annual holiday gift to the community on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Presented by the Springfield Memorial Foundation in partnership with Downtown Springfield, Inc., the festival will feature community and family events on Saturday and Wednesday evenings from November 26 through December 21 in downtown Springfield.

“We are excited to share a celebration of remembrance with our community,” said Melissa Hansen Schmadeke, executive director of the Springfield Memorial Foundation. “Families will rediscover familiar activities and enjoy exciting new offerings. This inclusive event celebrates the diversity of the holiday season with free admission and ample free parking.”

Most of the events at Memorial Holiday Fest are free, and the schedule can be found at memorial.health/holidayfest. Paper cards can be picked up from local businesses in the city centre.

The event will begin with the lighting of the Christmas tree at 4:30 p.m. on November 26 at the Old State Capitol Plaza.

The trees decorated by the students will be displayed at the Illinois State Museum, 502 S. Spring St. Students will compete in online People’s Choice voting for first, second and third place. The public can vote online by visiting the Springfield Memorial Foundation Facebook page.

Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa will also be featured in various locations throughout downtown. A 10-foot outdoor light display of Abraham Lincoln with Santa Claus will debut in Old Capitol Plaza.

Visits with Santa Claus will take place on the lawn of the Old Capitol. Santa will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays.

Free Midwestern Sleigh Rides will be available from 2-7pm on Saturdays and 4-7pm on Wednesdays. People can catch the rides at 1 North Old State Capitol Plaza. In partnership with the Springfield Mass Transit District, the shuttle bus will provide mobility assistance.

The Illinois State Museum will host holiday crafts for kids on Wednesdays and Saturdays, a Desserts with the Sugar Plum Fairy event from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. on December 10, and a PJs & Story Time with Mrs. Claus event from 5:00 to 19:00 December. 21, the last day of the Memorial Holiday Fest.

Families can bring their children to several of the holiday festival events at Kidzeum, 412 E. Adams St. The holiday festival events are free with paid admission to the Kidzeum. Children can make tacks decorated with their handprints and other arts and crafts. The sock rink will be located on the third floor of Kidzeum.

The LRS Ice Rink, a 4,000-square-foot outdoor rink located on the lawn of the old State Capitol, will be open from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from November 16 through December 21.

Family-friendly activities will be available at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, including a selfie station in the teen area.

Families attending Memorial Holiday Fest can receive Polar Passports for kids. When children visit four specific destinations, they get a stamp in their passport. Four locations: Springfield Visitors Bureau, Old State Capitol, Kiddeum and Illinois State Museum. After getting stamps at all four destinations, kids can drop off their passports at the Hoogland Center for the Arts, 402 S. Sixth St., where they’ll be entered into a drawing for free passes to the Kidzeum.

Downtown Springfield, Inc. (DSI’s) Old Capitol Holiday Walks, which coincide with the Memorial Holiday Fest, are an opportunity for people to visit downtown, shop and eat at local shops and restaurants that “make it the most magical time of the year,” she said. Kayla Graven, DSI Executive Director.

The hours of the festive walks around the Old Capitol are from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Saturdays and from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Wednesdays. Shoppers can earn “red tickets” for shopping downtown, 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.

This year marks the second year the hospital foundation has partnered with Downtown Springfield, Inc. to present the Memorial Holiday Fest in conjunction with the DSI Old Capitol Holiday Walks.

PNC Bank is the title sponsor of the Memorial Holiday Fest. Thanks to the support of sponsors, the Memorial Holiday Fest is able to offer most events for free and raise funds for the Springfield Memorial Foundation, Hansen Schmadeke said.

“We all work together to make this a wonderful event for families all over central Illinois. Downtown Springfield is a great place to be during the holidays, and people can also spend time shopping at local businesses or grabbing a bite to eat at one of our downtown restaurants.”

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