Downtown Springfield Inc., Holiday WalksChestnuts roasting on an open fire…this year, you don’t just get to sing about it. Head to downtown Springfield to taste and smell it too!

Springfield is about to burst with festivity with the opening of Downtown Springfield Inc’s Old Capitol Holiday Walks on Nov. 25, 2017. Farmer’s Market vendor Suttill’s Garden will be roasting fresh chestnuts on the Old State Capitol Plaza as just one of many activities planned for the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

INB is proud to sponsor the annual Old Capitol Holiday Walks, which kick off on Small Business Saturday with a showing of the movie Elf at the Hoogland Center for the Arts – an appropriate comedic choice for the event’s theme based on elves: Merry and Mischief.

“With our Holiday Walks, we’re bringing a blend of Springfield’s historic past with a fun, modern experience,” said Lisa Clemmons Stott, executive director of Downtown Springfield, Inc.

“The holidays are the time of year when families and communities come together, and downtown is the best place to recreate that old-fashioned Christmas where you can view beautiful window displays, ride a horse-drawn carriage and visit Santa.”

Some of the exciting features of this year’s Holiday Walks include:

  • Visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus inside the Old State Capitol on Wednesdays from 5-8 p.m. and Saturdays from 2-5 p.m. Children’s crafts and face painting will be available while you wait. (Santa’s big arrival will be Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017 at 3:45 p.m.)
  • Santa’s Mailbox is open for letters. The mailbox, created by the Springfield Art Association, is located in the middle of the Old State Capitol Plaza.
  • Horse-drawn Carriage Rides by Red Gate Farm on Wednesdays from 5-8 p.m. and Saturdays from 1-4 p.m. (excluding December 2, 2017. The carriage will run from 12-3 p.m. Dec. 16, 2017). Ten-minute rides are free — first come, first served. Pickup will be at Del’s Popcorn on Sixth St. with the route running north on 6th, turn on Washington, south on 5th and turn on Monroe.
  • Appearances by President Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln. Grab a selfie with the Lincolns on Saturdays from 12-6 p.m. as they window-shop!
  • Jaycees Christmas Parade on Saturday, December 9, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
  • Menorah Ceremony on Wednesday, December 13, 2017 at 6 p.m.
  • Musical performances many of the dates by local high school choirs, bands, musical groups and dancers. 
  • Special holiday events at downtown Historic Sites, including a “Holidays at the White House” exhibit at the Presidential Museum and Dana Thomas House tours and treats. Many more holiday historic site events can be found here.

“Every year, we do it bigger and better, and more organizations get involved,” Lisa said. “We have 30 new businesses that have opened in the last two years, so the Holiday Walks give the community a chance to see what’s new and different while also experiencing an old-time Christmas.”