Like most events this year, the city’s annual tree lighting and holiday celebration will look a little different.

On Wednesday, city and community arts leaders announced a plan to conduct a live broadcast of a holiday variety show and mayor’s tree lighting on Nov. 21.

The event will feature local performers, including members of the newly formed Ozarks Performing Arts League, which will give everyone a glimpse at cultural institutions like the Springfield Ballet, Springfield Little Theatre and Springfield Regional Opera.

It will be broadcast on KY3-TV, and afterward, families can drive through and see the downtown lights in person, as well as take selfies with Santa from their vehicles.

“I’m grateful to each of you for making sure we’re able to carry on with our holiday tradition of lighting the tree in Park Central Square, despite the pandemic,” Mayor Ken McClure said.

McClure also encouraged churches around Springfield to chime their bells together at 7:55 p.m. Nov. 21 as they count down the tree-lighting in a display of unity.

“This year, as we’ve noted, has been difficult,” McClure said. “We’ve lost lives, we’ve sacrificed livelihoods. We’ve endured, certainly, the most difficult sequence of events any of us has ever faced.

“But in moments like this, I realize how resilient the people of Springfield are. We may need to keep our distance physically, but I don’t believe we’ve ever been closer together than we are in spirit.”

Katie Kull covers local government for the News-Leader. Got a story to tell? Give her a call at 417-408-1025 or email her at You can also support local journalism at

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