Celebrating Springfield's Biggest, Best and Brightest

The response this holiday season has been tremendous. Attendance at Bright Nights at Forest Park is higher than anticipated and we had more guests than ever at the holiday concert. It is great to see so many people getting in to the holiday spirit.
On behalf of the Spirit of Springfield Board of Directors and Staff, we wish you a Very Merry Christmas and a Joyous New Year!

- Judy Matt 

'Tis the Season at Bright Nights
Visitors are traveling from near and far to enjoy Bright Nights at Forest Park. License plates have represented all five New England states and beyond. Zip codes collected at the front gate range from 01001 in Agawam to 33794 in Asturias, Spain.
They are taking great delight in the magnificent displays and the many activities. These include the horse-drawn wagon and carriage rides which were close to selling out, and Supper with Santa at the Barney Carriage House. At Santa's Magical Forest, the visitors go for a spin on the rides, whisper holiday wishes in Santa's ear, take home a souvenir and hop back in their car with a snack.
This year, Bright Nights was recognized by Yankee Magazine as one of the "Best Places to See Christmas Lights in New England," and Travel & Leisure Magazine as "The Best Christmas Lights in Every State" for Massachusetts.

Bright Nights Memories
In celebration of Bright Nights at Forest Park's 25 th Season in 2019, the Spirit of Springfield is collecting memories, whether it was the first trip, most recent tour or that night at Bright Nights that will always be remembered. Birthdays, engagements and anniversaries have all been celebrated at Bright Nights.
Working with The Springfield Republican, a commemorative book and special section will be produced to share the sweet thoughts and photographs. Share yours today at brightnights.org/memories.

215th Army Band Delights
The 215 th Army Band of the Massachusetts Army National Guard was humbled by the attendance at their holiday concert on December 9 in Springfield Symphony Hall. Their ensembles wowed the crowd with a great mix of tunes from contemporary to classic, patriotic and holiday.
The Spirit of Springfield was fortunate to be able to present the concert with the tremendous support of Mercy Medical Center and Trinity Health of New England, Big Y World Class Markets, MassLive, The Republican, Rock102, Sheraton Springfield, and WWLP-22News.

See more photos!

September 11th Monument Funding
Springfield's September 11 th Monument Fundraising Committee met its goal to raise $300,000. The campaign started in April and finished with check presentations by Big Y World Class Markets which donated $5,000, Sergeant John Delaney (retired) and the Springfield Ride to Remember with a check for $10,000, and Michael Crowley of Crowley & Associates who donated $15,000 in honor of the many first responders in his family.
The monument will feature an i-beam recovered from the World Trade Center donated to the Spirit of Springfield by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. It will be surrounded by a wall listing the names of the first responders killed on September 11, 2001.

Year in Review

2018 was a busy year for the Spirit of Springfield. We are proud of our many success and accomplishments. We celebrated Springfield's birthday with the World's Largest Pancake Breakfast and the country's independence with Star Spangled Springfield. We hosted the City of Bright Nights Ball at MGM Springfield.  The Spirit of Springfield's own Cat in the Hat floated down Main Street for the Parade of the Big Balloons.  We held concerts and proudly assisted with the opening of MGM Springfield and Springfield's September 11 th Monument Fundraising.
It is only with the generous support of so many that the Spirit of Springfield has been able to present these events for so many years. Donations have come in all different forms and denominations, from pancake batter from Performance Food Service to funding for the fireworks by MassMutual.
The Spirit of Springfield has also counted on dedicated volunteers. Some serve on committees while hundreds serve the World's Largest Pancake Breakfast.
Thank you to all who made the Spirit of Springfield's 2018 season a grand success!


Ring in the New Year at Bright Nights
Ring in 2019 with a visit to Bright Nights at Forest Park. On December 31, lights will be lit from 5pm to 11pm. Children receive a complimentary ticket for one of the amusement rides in Santa's Magical Forest and a festive hat or noisemaker in the Gift Shop.
In This Issue
"Tis the Season at Bright Nights
Bright Nights Memories
215th Army Band Delights
September 11th Monument Funding
Year in Review
Breaking News!
Guest Column
Bright Nights Discount Tickets
Guest Column

Anthony Cignoli
A. L. Cignoli Company
Winston Churchill said:  
"Out of intense complexities intense simplicities emerge."   Though it was never simple, that indeed could describe how the Spirit of Springfield so successfully met the challenges of this past year, over and again, month after month. 2018 has been a year of great success, again bringing smiles to so many, both young and old, and illuminating the City of Firsts, Springfield,   as it should be.
2018 has also been a year of unexpected challenges, some that seemed insurmountable. Yet each one was met with gratitude for the opportunity it meant to continue the amazing effort that is absolutely the true   Spirit   of this place, Springfield.
Oh the challenges we did see!  Dr. Seuss could have written such a book! Main Street and side streets were under construction before and during the World's Greatest Pancake Breakfast. Riverfront Park was in the still on-going process of being completely renovated, so the annual Big Fourth Fireworks that brings over one hundred thousand people and tens-of-thousands more eyes via internet to Springfield and West Springfield to watch the world-renowned Grucci Brothers displays had to be moved!  The entire event was taken to Blunt Park. Patton and MacArthur would have marveled at this movement of troops!
The Bright Night's Ball was held in a new location at MGM Springfield to commemorate MGM's first year and opening in Springfield. The event is an incredible undertaking and it was even more so in a new venue. But it was worth every bit of the effort, raising essential funds for Bright Nights. It always inspires and awes me, the exceptional generosity of so many here, who give and give yet again when they can. During a special live auction at the ball, these don ors gave generously to the very special 9/11 monument dedicated to first-responders that will become part of Springfield's new Riverfront Park next year.
There was the unexpected loss of the annual Parade of Great Balloons funding, yet that challenge was met and the annual event brought thousands to Downtown Springfield the day after Thanksgiving. Many of these visitors made a day of it, shopping and dining in Downtown and visiting attractions.
And 2018 saw The Spirit of Springfield rise up to accept other opportunities to make Springfield shine bright. The Spirit of Springfield was enlisted by MGM Springfield to produce the opening day of MGM Springfield. There were so many moving parts to that nationally-noted and historical day for Springfield. That an international company like MGM, an organization with so much invested in Springfield, chose The Spirit of Springfield to do this work is another accolade for this team that produces world-class and nationally recognized events, successfully, over and over again.
In 2018, it was time to finish an effort that began when The New York and New Jersey Port authority awarded a large and unique piece of steel to The Spirit of Springfield for a special 9/11 memorial dedicated to the first-responders who gave their lives on that tragic day.
In less than a year, The Spirit of Springfield oversaw the creation of the memorial and the collaboration of many volunteers and City of Springfield officials to find a site for the tribute, as well as the effort to raise the funds necessary for it all. There were small contributions with heart-felt messages from those who wanted to be sure that those who gave all, and that the very day itself, will never be forgotten. And Greater Springfield's business community contributed graciously to the effort.
It was an extraordinary year. One we are most grateful for and to so many for helping us to yet again meet the challenges, to create the events, to produce the smiles and life-time memories. The year is not over. Bright Nights 2018 takes us into the New Year. And the wonderful, hard work and attention to detail needed has already begun in preparing for the 25 th  anniversary of Bright Nights next year.
Laurence J. Peter said:  "Don't believe in miracles - depend on them."   It was another year of miracles to make so much happen against such odds.   Miracles.   They shine brightly in faces of children best, those of all ages, all walks-of-life, who are touched again and again by The Spirit of Springfield's extraordinary miracle-workers.
May the New Year bring you and yours all the very greatest things in life.
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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.