Celebrating Springfield's Biggest, Best and Brightest
Springfield's holiday season got off to a grand start!
Bright Nights opening was another record-breaking night. We premiered the Springfield Thunderbirds display and Boomer took a spin on the carousel. We also had 500 runners for the road race and hundreds of families were welcomed on Military/First Responders Night.
It was with the generous support of several area businesses that we were able to bring the Cat in the Hat back for the Parade of the Big Balloons, and there is more to come.
There are lots of activities at Bright Nights, and on December 9th , the 215th Army Band of the Massachusetts Army National Guard will be bringing holiday music to Springfield Symphony Hall.
We hope you will join us for the holiday festivities.

- Judy Matt 

215th Army Band Free Holiday Concert
On Sunday, December 9 th, at 2pm, Springfield Symphony Hall will be filled with sounds of the 215 th Army Band of the Massachusetts Army National Guard. The 40-member band will perform in ensembles and as a full band. They have a repertoire of patriotic tunes and holiday classics.
They will get the audience standing proud for "Stars and Stripes," singing along to "Jingle Bells," clapping to " Ev'ry Little Beat Helps," and saluting for the "Armed Forces Medley."
The concert, sponsored by Mercy Medical Center and Trinity Health of New England, is free. Tickets are available at Big Y World Classic Markets in Western Massachusetts, the information desk at Mercy Medical Center, the security desk at One Financial Plaza (1350 Main Street, Springfield) and the Spirit of Springfield.

Bright Nights 25th Season Opening
Cars were lined up before 5pm on November
21 st  for Bright Nights at Forest Park 24th 
season opener. Admission was just $6 per car and Bright Nights Loyalty Card Members were admitted for free. They were there to kick-off their holiday season and see the new Springfield Thunderbirds display.
It marked Bright Nights busiest opening night in history.
Springfield Thunderbirds owners, management and mascot, Boomer, were there to see the 70-foot wide display come to light. It is another Springfield icon honored by Bright Nights.
Bright Nights is open nightly through January 1, 2019. In addition to the Springfield Thunderbirds, it is sponsored by The Arbor Kids, Asnuntuck Community College, Balise Auto, Baystate Health, Big Y World Class Markets, Charlie Arment Trucking, Inc., Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, The Colvest Group, Comcast, Eversource Energy, Gleason Johndrow Landscaping, Health New England (HNE), iHeart Media, MassLive, MassMutual, MGM Springfield, The MP Group, PeoplesBank, The Republican, Seimens, Sheraton Springfield, Skip's Outdoor Accents, Springfield College, Tower Square, and WWLP-22News.

Chilly Parade of the Big Balloons
Holiday revelers, volunteers and parade participants braved the cold for the 2018 Parade of the Big Balloons on Friday, November  23 rd . They were there to welcome Cat in the Hat, his inflatable friends and Santa, and honor Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno who served as the Parade Marshal.
After the parade, festivities continued inside Tower Square, at MGM Springfield, and at the Festival of Trees.
Sponsored by Tower Square and MGM Springfield, the parade also featured the Springfield  Shriner's, dance teams, pageant princesses, and so much more. Additional support for the parade was provided by Chicopee Savings Bank Foundation, CRRC-MA, S-Cel-O Painting, Springfield Improvement District, Springfield Thunderbirds and so many others.
Special thanks to the balloon wranglers who arrived at 9am to assist with inflation and kept warm with the cheers from the crowd.

See more photos!

Bright Nights 5K Delayed a Day
For the second time in 13 years, the Bright Nights 5K Road Race was delayed a day due to weather. It did not, however, dampen the spirits of the runners when they came out on November 27th  to run the course by and through the magnificent displays.
One runner said at times it was like a dream. Another exclaimed it is the best way to see the lights. The winner, 15-year-old Blake Dufresne from Windsor Locks (CT), was running so fast he probably did not notice them. He finished the race in 18 minutes and 3 seconds.
Inquiries have already been made as to the date of the 2019 Bright Nights 5K Road Race registration.
This year's sponsors were Baystate Rehabilitation Care and Health New England, with additional support from the Freedom Credit Union, Peter Pan Bus Lines, Springfield College and Westfield Ba nk.

See more photos and the  results!
Flags & First Responders at Bright Nights

Flags waved at the entrance as hundreds of military personnel, first responders and their families were welcomed to Bright Nights on November 28th . They were greeted by Colonel Peter Green, Wing Commander, and Chief Master Sergeant Maryanne Walts, Command Chief, representing the 104th Fighter Wing at Barnes Air National Guard Base, who were joined by Mayor Domenic Sarno, Police Commissioner John Barbieri, Fire Commissioner B. J. Calvi, representatives from the Massachusetts State Police, members of the Springfield Veterans Activities Committee, and Springfield Central High School Key Club.
The evening, sponsored by Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, is the Spirit of Springfield's way of thanking the members of the armed forces, law enforcement officers, firefighters and EMT's for their bravery and the sacrifices they make during the holiday season, and all year.

See more photos!
Supper with Santa Bright Nights Supper with Santa

After a drive through the lights, guests can dine with Santa on Sunday, December 9th  and 16th , at the Barney Carriage House. It is a Bright Nights treat that has true believers wide-eyed as Santa takes a seat at their table.
The menu is delicious and kid-friendly. Reservations are available for seatings at 6pm, 6:30pm and 7pm. Tickets are $20 per person and $15 for children under 12. Children under 2 are free.
To make a reservation, call the Spirit of Springfield weekdays at 413-733-3800.

Monarch Place Holiday Lights

Monarch Place has a new look this holiday season. It is dressed with three Monarch monogramed wreaths, a 16-foot by 16-foot holiday ornament which is great for photos, and brightly lit deer. The airwalk is decorated with a string of oversized ornaments.
These add to the holiday d├ęcor throughout Downtown Springfield including the Main Street lamp poles sponsored by the Springfield Business Improvement District, as well as Court Square, Tower Square, TD Bank Building, Berkshire Bank, The Colvest Group, Market Place, One Financial Plaza and the Memorial Bridge.


Bright Nights Car Lighting Contest
Deck the dashboard with boughs of holly. Wrap the car in lights! Showcase your holiday sleigh on Wednesday, December 12 at Santa's Magical Forest at Bright Nights
Entries welcome at 5:30pm. Judging is at 7pm.
In This Issue
215th Army Band Free Holiday Concert
Bright Nights 25th Season Opening
Chilly Parade of the BIg Balloons
Bright Nights 5K Delayed a Day
Flags & First Responders at Bright Nights
Bright Nights Supper with Santa
Monarch Place Holiday Lights
Breaking News!
Guest Column - Colonel Peter Green
Bright Nights $10 Tuesdays
Guest Column

Colonel Peter T. Green, III
104th Fighter Wing,
Barnes Air National Guard Base
I have been privileged to participate in the Bright Nights Public Safety Night for several years. It's a night sponsored by Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, who provides free admission for all Military, Law Enforcement, Firefighters and Emergency Medical Service personnel and their families. It's a great time for all, and this year was no different. The cars were lined up and ready to go. Command Chief Master Sergeant Walts and I took our position to welcome our fellow members and their families.
The first words I heard was from a young girl's voice, who said, "Thank you for your service", and she waved at me from the back seat of the car. I promptly thanked her, and asked if she was excited to see all the lights! She cried, "Yes and Santa too". Throughout the night, it was much of the same. Children excited to be there along with their families!
Another great opportunity for everyone is to join the Spirit of Springfield as they proudly present a FREE holiday concert by the 215 th Army Band of the Massachusetts Army National Guard on Sunday, December 9 th from 2:00 - 4:00 in Symphony Hall, 34 Court Street, Springfield, MA. 01103. I guarantee you won't be disappointed as it will put you in the holiday spirit!
Admission Just $10 Per Car*

December  11th

And, Santa is offering $10 off a $49.95 photo package

*No coupons accepted
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Celebrating Springfield's 
Biggest, Best and Brightes

The Spirit of Springfield is a private, non-profit corporation
which produces high-quality, large-scale events in the city of Springfield.
Our mission is to promote community events and encourage civic pride.