Springfield’s SantaCon among Holiday in the City weekend highlights

One of the biggest local adult holiday parties, shopping, a world of pure imagination and holiday music are coming this weekend as Holiday in the City keeps the seasonal spirit going in downtown Springfield.

“People have been asking constantly, wanting to check out what’s going on downtown,” said Ashten Houseman, Greater Springfield Partnership downtown events programmer, the group that presents Holiday in the City. “So much will be going on.”

The third Springfield SantaCon will be 4-10 p.m. Saturday at Mother Stewart’s Brewing Co., 102 W. Columbia St. Presented by The United Way, the event is simply to bring together friends and strangers to celebrate the fellowship and nostalgia of the holiday season. Admission is free.

Participants are encouraged to dress in their favorite holiday gear, whether it’s as Santa or Mrs. Claus, an elf, in your best ugly sweater, Christmas suit or whatever brings out your holiday spirit. One of the highlights is a pair of costume contests: for the best Santa and best holiday outfit, with prizes for the top three places.

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Places are determined by crowd cash donations. The 2021 holiday outfit winners dressed as Cousin Eddie from “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” The contest is free and registration is at the event.

Other attractions include music from DJ House, Arlo Larson, the Dawson Trio and Jah Soul; a photo booth; a hot bar, and ice sculptures. Funds raised will go to United Way of Clark, Champaign and Madison Counties.

“I only thought some of the bigger cities like Cincinnati or Columbus were having SantaCons, so for Springfield to have one is a good thing for our community,” said Houseman.

Saturday’s activities will also include a brand-new event, “Willie Wonka’s Pure Imagination Experience,” noon to 4 p.m. at the Clark County Public Library. The rotunda will be transformed into the Wonka Factory, where children ages 17-under will meet characters, get treats and participate in activities.

A lot of holiday shopping can get done Saturday with the items offered at three local events: Holiday in the Market, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at COHatch; Holidays at the Hatch, noon to 4 p.m. at the Hatch Artist Studios; and Mother’s Holiday Market, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Mother Stewart’s. These will also be open on Dec. 17.

Santa will appear to meet guests on the third floor during Holidays at the Hatch.

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Other Saturday activities include a free cookie decorating event at Le Torte Dolci, 8-10 a.m., the GSMO Holiday Boogie Blowout, 7-9 p.m. at the Market Bar at COHatch, and the Springfield Symphony Orchestra’s “Home Alone in Concert” at 7:30 p.m. that will include a showing of the film and the orchestra performing the film’s score live. Tickets are still available.

Sunday will see the return of the Simunye Carolers, 5-7 p.m. live at the downtown Esplanade. The event is free.

Ongoing offerings will continue such as the Speedway Ice Skating Rink, open 5-8 p.m. Thursday and Sunday and 5-9 Friday and Saturday.

Horse carriage rides will be 6-9 p.m. Wednesdays throughout December. The rides will start outside the Courtyard by Marriott and the cost is $5 and free for ages 10-under.

For more information on Holiday in the City events, go to www.facebook.com/holidayinthecityspfld/.

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