Springfield Mayor Dominic Sarno, Springfield Museums President Kim Simpson, the Clauses-Santa and Mrs., and a repentant Grinch joined about 150 people for the eighth-annual tree lighting in the center of the Quadrangle Friday evening.
Sarno led the countdown to the 5 p.m. lighting that brought hundreds of multicolored lights to life on the 8 to 10-foot tall locally-grown tree.
Simpson said this tree is a little smaller than years in past but the drama of so many lights on the shorter tree is worth it.
The celebration kicks off a holiday-themed promotion of the Smithsonian Institute Pop Culture exhibit at the Michele and Donald DAmour Museum of Fine Arts. In the Museum of Science, pop culture icons are on exhibit. The difference is, these are all made from gingerbread.
Imagine a gingerbread tribute to the Muppets with Kermit the Frog, the ruby slippers Dorothy wore in the Wizard of Oz or the MTV television logo, all in three-dimensions and all edible.
“We decided to give the tree lighting and the special exhibit in celebration of the holiday and in the spirit of giving,” Simpson said.
Sarno said he had a busy presiding over about half a dozen events in the downtown Friday alone.
He started his day serving as marshal for the Parade of Big Balloons featuring huge helium-inflated effigies of the Cat in the Hat, the MGM Lion and Curious George among others.
Then over to the MGM Casino and Resort in the South End where he and Olympic skater Nancy Kerrigan dedicated an ice skating rink, something Sarno said was in his list of must-haves.
Then up the hill to the Quadrangle for the tree lighting ceremony and finally, he ended his day joining officials back at MGM lighting the resorts first Christmas tree in the central plaza of the resort.
It was a long day for the mayor but a valuable one for the city. The events brought large crowds to the downtown that translated into the second highest attendance at the Springfield museums, Simpson said.
“With so much happening in downtown Springfield people are here and making the quadrangle an important part of their visit,” she said.
WWLP file image from 2011 shows the holiday lighting ceremony at the Quadrangle in Springfield. [ + – ]
"We actually have snow pants, snow jackets, hats and mittens we're good to go, It's New England right?"
Despite another cold night in western Massachusetts, people made their way to downtown Springfield Friday for the annual Christmas tree lighting at the Springfield Museums.
"It's exciting, it's so much fun it's colorful, Dr. Suess is everywhere, it's really fun," said Tanne Plummer of Ontario, Canada.
Tanne Plummer and her family came down from Canada to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday with friends and family and made it a point to stop at the Springfield Museums.
Although you had to bundle up from head to toe, the celebration featured appearances by Santa Claus and the Grinch and of course the illumination of the Quadrangle Christmas tree.
"It's something new just to kick off the holiday festivities for the kids," said Sue Afonso of Springfield. "We saw it online so we decided to come out and check it out."
There were also performances by the Sci-Tech Band which featured members from the Springfield High School of Science and Technology Band Program.
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