“The foundation made the difficult decision to sunset Memorial’s
Festival of Trees. We wanted to design an event that would promote
diversity and inclusion and would address the many changes occurring
in planning a holiday event in uncertain times,” said Melissa Hansen
Schmadeke, executive director of the Memorial Medical Center
Foundation. “That led to the birth of the Memorial Holiday Fest.
We’re excited to introduce this new holiday tradition, which will
include many of the delightful, time-honored traditions that
families have come to expect.”
The holiday fest will be free and held on two consecutive Saturdays,
Nov. 27 and Dec. 4. Held in conjunction with Downtown Springfield
Inc.’s Holiday Walk, the Memorial Holiday Fest will allow “visitors
to experience an extra dose of fest magic on these two days as part
of the Holiday Walk experience,” said Hansen Schmadeke.
Foundation officials are calling on kid artists 13 years old or
younger to design a mascot for the first Memorial Holiday Fest.
Entries can be submitted during September; the winner will be
contacted by Oct. 4.
Entries can be created with any medium on standard 8.5-by-11-inch
paper. Artists must include their name, age, address and phone
number with their entries. The artist whose mascot is selected will
receive four passes to Kidzeum in downtown Springfield and will be
Submissions should be sent to the Memorial Medical Center
Foundation, either by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to
MMC Foundation, Mail Code 61, 701 N. First St., Springfield, IL
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The Memorial Holiday Fest will feature many of the “beloved features that people
enjoyed in the past, including our beautifully decorated gingerbread houses,
trees and wreaths,” said Hansen Schmadeke.
Other familiar elements carrying over to the Memorial Holiday Fest include
visits with Santa, the Gingerbread Village, the Sockefeller Skating Rink, and
arts and crafts. The theme of the holiday fest is “A Season for Caring.”
Some of the new offerings include horse-and-carriage rides and a “warming tree”
with scarves, hats and mittens in the YMCA.
Event organizers said they will constantly monitor current COVID-19 conditions
and will adjust any plans for the Memorial Holiday Fest to ensure the
During its 31-year run, Memorial’s Festival of Trees, held in the Orr Building
on the Illinois State Fairgrounds, raised more than $5.3 million for
health-related projects and programs for Memorial Health System and the
Springfield community. Between 30,000 and 35,000 people visited the nine-day
event, which showcased more than 200 decorated trees and wreaths.
The Memorial Medical Center Foundation is the fundraising arm of the nonprofit
hospital. Earlier this year, the foundation’s annual distribution of grant
funding awarded more than $600,000 to health-related projects in the community.