Memorial’s Festival of Trees will pull up its roots from its traditional location to replant itself in downtown Springfield this holiday season.
This year’s festival, a central Illinois holiday tradition, is making the move to multiple downtown locations to make the event more accessible in a central and public location. This year’s celebration will be free of charge and open for all to attend.
The move and collaboration with Downtown Springfield Inc. is also an effort to support local small businesses that are still recovering from the pandemic. Held over two consecutive Saturdays in November, this year’s festival will bring the community together downtown in the heart of the city, organizers said.
“Many families have made the festival part of their holiday tradition year after year,” said Melissa Hansen Schmadeke, executive director of the Memorial Medical Center Foundation, which sponsors the event. “Now, they can continue that tradition in a new location while they help our friends and families who have had to struggle to keep their businesses open during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The Festival of Trees has drawn 30,000 to 35,000 visitors each season in recent years and features hundreds of festively decorated trees and wreaths. The change in location will help “bring healing and comfort to our community,” Hansen Schmadeke said. The new location reflects the sentiment behind the theme of this year’s festival, “A Season for Caring.”
“Having an event, especially one as iconic and well attended as Festival of Trees, will be a boost to our local businesses and will be a wonderful way to bring the community together to celebrate this holiday season,” said Kayla Graven, Downtown Springfield Inc. executive director. “We are excited about this partnership and look forward to the celebration.”
Organizers of this year’s event are finalizing details. More information will follow.
Memorial’s Festival of Trees began in 1989 to benefit the mission of Memorial Medical Center. During its 30-plus years, the festival has raised more than $5.5 million to fund healthcare grants focused on education, research, technology and patient care.