SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – The Birthplace of Route 66 Festival may be over, but there are still plenty of fall festivals in the Ozarks, and a new website will help you keep up with those events and more.
It’s called Celebrate Springfield (celebratesgf.com), where the homepage headline explains the website’s goal: “Bringing Together the Best Our City Has To Offer.”
The website is the brainchild of Erin Danastasio, who’s lived in Springfield most of her life and knew of the Queen City’s beautiful outdoor trails, lakes, and parks. However, she rarely used them until she became part of a Springfield Chamber of Commerce program that usually takes its members to other cities to see what they offer. But because of the pandemic, the members stayed in their hometown and discovered that Springfield had a lot to offer.
“There were opportunities to go hiking and kayaking, and that’s just something I hadn’t taken advantage of,” she explained. “I realized it was the intimidation and the lack of know-how. I wouldn’t know where to rent a kayak, where to put it in and take it out or whether it was safe to take my kids. And so one of the things that inspired Celebrate Springfield was if I wasn’t taking advantage of the opportunity, who else wasn’t? And why aren’t they experiencing Springfield to its fullest?”
So Erin and the community-oriented family organization she works for, the Hatch Foundation, enlisted many other civic and business organizations (including KY3) to launch the Celebrate Springfield website that offers a one-stop-shop to find activities and events available locally.
“The real concept behind Celebrate Springfield is packaging all these things in a way that makes it very accessible and digestible for families who may not know about all these choices,” said Rusty Worley, the Executive Director of the Downtown Springfield Association. “Things like Cider Days, which has been here for almost 25 years. They may not have visited the zoo or been to a Springfield Cardinals game. All of that information is at one site now.”
“And in a week or two, we’re going to be launching a second portion of our website,” Danastasio added. “When that’s up-and-running, somebody can use a filter and say things like, ‘I have three hours of free time on this date,’ and the site will pop-up activities in Springfield they can go to on any given day.”
Celebrate Springfield will also offer its special activities throughout September, culminating in an overall celebration on Sunday, October 2, at Jordan Valley Park.
The schedule includes:
September 1- 500 community members will be able to attend the Springfield Cardinals game at Hammons Field for free, and attendees will have the opportunity to learn more about Celebrate Springfield.
September 2- First Friday Art Walk with original art, live music, hands-on activities, and live art demonstrations.
All September- Dickerson Park Zoo offers family bundle passes ($20 will get up to eight family members in during the month of September) through the Celebrate Springfield website.
September 9-11- The Japanese Fall Festival at the Japanese Stroll Gardens in Nathaniel Greene Park also has a family bundle ($10 for up to eight people) through the Celebrate Springfield website.
September 10-11- A new event, the MidXMidwst Art and Culture Festival, will bring artists from around the country to downtown to make murals and include bands, food, and more. $30 tickets are discounted if you use the code CELEBRATESGF.
September 17-18- Cider Days on Historic Walnut Street is Springfield’s local arts and crafts festival, and you can use code CELEBRATESSGF to get $2 off each ticket.
September 24- Springfield Jazz Festival in Park Central Square and Park Central East…a free event.
September 25- Fellows Lake Fun Day is a new event offering kayaking, fishing, boat rides, mountain biking, and more.
October 2- Celebrate Springfield at Jordan Valley Park will offer live music, food trucks, games, art and science projects, and giveaways.
“I do envision it being an annual event,” Danastasio said of Celebrate Springfield’s future offerings. “My thought at this point is we have a different theme each year (this year’s theme is the Great Outdoors).”
“There are many things in our backyard,” Worley added. “Sometimes we all get caught up in our own routines, and this is a good way to break out of that and have fun in a very affordable way.”
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