Bright Nights at Forest Park had one of its busiest opening nights.  Cars lined Sumner Avenue.  Santa's Magical Forest was the hub of activity, but it was the more than 650,000 lights lining the three-mile tour that were the stars of the show.
We also floated the Cat in the Hat down Main Street, cheered runners, dedicated the new technical training and storage facility, and now, we are looking forward to Sunday's free concert by the 215th Army Band, and so much more!
Let the fun and festivities continue!

- Judy Matt 
Free Holiday Concert December 4

On Sunday, December 4, Springfield Symphony Hall will be filled with the sounds of the season thanks to the musical talents of the 215th Army Band of the Massachusetts Army National Guard and the support of Mercy Medical Center and several others.

Under the direction of Commander CW2 Stephen Martins, the 37-member band will perform Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Sleigh Ride, Christmas Festival, Stars and Stripes Forever, Armed Forces Medley and more.
Free tickets are available at Western Mass Big Y World Class Markets and Mercy Medical Center Information Desk.  
Bright Nights Opening Night
Admission price was $6 per car and free for Bright Night Loyalty Card Members when Bright Nights at Forest Park opened for its 22nd season on November 23.  Cars lined Sumner Avenue and the gates closed well past 9PM.
In Santa's Magical Forest, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, Sheriff-Elect Nick Cocchi, along with sponsors and supporters flipped the switch bringing the displays to light and putting the Winter Carousel and Santa Train in motion.  Visitors were also eager to experience the inside of the Giant Bright Nights Snow Globe.

See more photos! 
Bright Nights 5K Fun

With serious runners at the front and dressed to impress participants in the back of the pack, the Bright Nights 5K Road Race was a holiday delight.  They took their mark under the Seuss Land Arch, dashed by the dinosaurs, sprinted through Victorian Village and dined on a post-race soup supper in the new John J. Shea Bright Nights Technical Training Facility.
The first-place male, Tim Sears, and first-place female, Amy Grindle, received the Dr. Thomas J. Keenan Awards.   Race Results
The Bright Nights 5K Road Race was sponsored by Health New England with additional support from Freedom Credit Union, Greater Springfield Credit Union, New England Orthopedic Surgeons, and the Western Mass Sports Commission. The lights that lit the darkened areas were provided by United Rentals, Springfield Fire Department and the Springfield Water and Sewer Commission.
Check out more photos!
Ribbon Cutting for Technical Training Facility
The John J. Shea Bright Nights Technical Training Facility has been years in the making.  The goal has been to provide state-of-the-art training classrooms for trades that could refurbish and repair the holiday lighting displays and much more.  For many wanting to further their skills, they were required to travel outside the area.  The Regional Employment Board of Hampden County is coordinating the use of the classrooms which are in high-demand.
The rear portion of the building provides proper storage and maintenance area for the Bright Nights displays.  Previously, the displays were stored in the former Monkey House, then moved to the Walker Grandstand and the former horse stables. 

John Shea, for which the building is named, was a member of the Springfield Police Commission who advocated for the mounted patrol unit that was stabled for years at Forest Park.  In his honor, several retired Springfield Police Chiefs were in attendance along with members of his family.

Honors for Military and First Responders at Bright Nights
The Springfield Fire Department will place flags and the Springfield Police Department will flash their blue lights to welcome guests to Bright Nights Military and First Responders Night on December 7.
Guests will be greeted by Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, members of the Massachusetts Army National Guard, Springfield Police and Fire Departments, and the Springfield Veterans Activities Committee.
The evening, sponsored by Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, also includes one free ride ticket for children.  It could be used on the Santa Train, carousel or giant Bright Nights snow globe.
Bright Nights Military and First Responders Night was postponed from November 30 because of heavy rain.
Parade of the Big Balloons Shows Springfield Spirit
The community came together to kick-off the holiday season with the Parade of the Big Balloons, sponsored by Tower Square, on November 25.  Sponsors like Smith & Wesson, PeoplesBank, Chicopee Savings Bank, American International College and others funded the festivities.
Special thanks to the more than 200 volunteers who carried banners and led the balloons down Main Street.  There were additional volunteers from the Massachusetts Army National Guard and Gleason Johndrow Landscaping.  They worked behind the scenes to get the musical, motorized and marching contingents in the proper order.
The parade and the festivities that followed at Tower Square's Holiday Open House brought excitement to Downtown Springfield.
See more parade photos!
Bright Nights Added Attractions
Visitors can make the most out of their visit to Bright Nights at Forest Park by combining it with one another activity - Supper with Santa, Horse-Drawn Wagon and Carriage Rides. 
December 11, 13 and 16 with seatings from 5:30PM to 7PM at Barney Carriage House
Kid-friendly dinner with a seat at every table for Santa.
Cost - $18 per person, $15 children 12 and under
(Plus admission fee for Bright Nights required)
Fridays and Sundays through December 23 (Except December 18)
Tour the upper part of the park with a team of horses from Mainely Drafts. The wagon holds 20 people.
Cost:  $10 per person, $8 children 12 and under, $150 to reserve entire wagon
(Plus admission fee for Bright Nights required)
Fridays and Saturdays through December 23
Tour the upper part of the park in a romantic carriage that holds four adults. 
Cost - $75 (Plus admission fee for Bright Nights required)
Bright Nights Season Passes

For the first time, Bright Nights season passes were made available.  The sales began November 1 at $30 and ended November 30 with a price of $40.  The goal was to sell 200, but we prepared to sell 400.  

We nearly ran out!  Due to an overwhelming We did run out Bright Nights Loyalty Cards.  Next year, we will be sure to be better prepared.

On opening night, many used the Bright Nights season pass. Several used it to take the tour more than once and one even took their car through for a third time.
Springfield Business Improvement District's Holiday Market

Dozens of local retailers and artisans have come to Downtown Springfield to be a part of the Springfield Business District's Holiday Market which will be open through December 23.  This year, Mikki Lessard and Nancy Feth, owners of Simply Serendipity, will be overseeing every detail of the shopper's experience.
Participating vendors are located in Tower Square and The Shops at Market Place (1341 Main Street).  They include Wonderland Gifts, Jackson & Connor, DiRico's Golf & Racquet, Kate Gray and more.  The Holiday Market will also be host to an array of activities. 
For hours, events and a complete list of vendors visit

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.
Celebrating 26 Years of Springfield's 
Biggest, Best and Brightest 
In This Issue
Free Holiday Concert
Bright Nights Opening Night
Bright Nights 5K Fun
Ribbon Cutting for Technical Training Facility
Honors for Military and First Responders at Bright Nights
Parade of the Big Balloons Shows Springfield Spirit
Bright Nights Added Atrractions
Bright Nights Season Passes
Guest Column - Dr. Scott Wolf
Free Concert Tickets
Guest Column

Scott Wolf, D.O., MPH, FACP
Mercy Medical Center &
Sisters of Providence Health System

It's hard to believe that we are just a few weeks away from the start of the holiday season - a time of year made more festive by the efforts of the Spirit of Springfield.

On Sunday, December 4, Mercy Medical Center will sponsor a holiday concert by 215th Army Band of the Massachusetts Army National Guard at Symphony Hall in Springfield. The performance will begin at 2 p.m.  Free tickets for this concert are available at all local Big Y World Class Markets; Mercy Medical Center's information desk, (299 Carew Street lobby); and at the Spirit of Springfield office, 1350 Main Street, Suite 1004, in Springfield.

For many families, this holiday concert is much more than a fun and relaxing tradition; it also provides a respite from the many obligations and commitments at this time of year.  For the Spirit of Springfield, this concert provides another opportunity to promote the city through extraordinary, family-friendly events such as the annual Pancake Breakfast, Parade of the Big Balloons, and Bright Nights at Forest Park.

Mercy Medical Center is proud to partner with the Spirit of Springfield in support of events such as these that renew a sense of community and bring joy to so many people.
for Sunday, December 4
Available at 
Mercy Medical Center and Western Mass Big Y Stores
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