On Friday, November 25, the Springfield Museums will kick off the holiday season with “Holiday Happenings,” an afternoon of family fun highlighted by the unveiling of this year’s entries in the annual Gingerbread Competition and Exhibit, which has become one of the region’s best-loved traditions. All of the day’s events are part of the Museums’ Family Fun program, which is supported by the TD Charitable Foundation.
The theme of this year’s Gingerbread Competition is “Holiday Magic,” with entries inspired by the adventures of a certain boy wizard set amongst a display of festive holiday trees and beautifully painted murals of his magical world. Entries from Professional, Adult, and Youth divisions will be on view, and visitors can vote for their favorite in each division with exhibit opening prizes awarded later in the day. Voting will continue for People’s Choice Awards until December 31, and final winners in each division will be posted on the Springfield Museums’ website.
The day also includes a full slate of family programs from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., all of which are free with museum admission unless noted otherwise:
- Performance: Shadows of Winter (Noon). A mesmerizing shadow theater program exploring winter and world tales that are sure to warm holiday hearts of young and old.
- Meet the Grinch (11 am-3 pm). Snap a selfie with Dr. Seuss’s lovable curmudgeon as he tours the museums galleries.
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2-2:30 pm) Sing along to this animated musical comedy, based on the Dr. Seuss holiday classic.
- Other activities include Gingerbread Playland (11 am-2 pm), a scavenger hunt (11 am-3 pm); planetarium shows (additional fee; 11:15 am, noon, 1 & 2 pm); and Art Discovery Center (noon-4 pm).
After the afternoon’s activities, the public is invited to enjoy the annual Lighting of the Quadrangle (5 – 7 p.m.), which is free and open to the public (no museum admission required). The free event starts with the lighting ceremony at 5 p.m., when St. Nick and the Grinch arrive to help Museums’ President Kay Simpson and Mayor Domenic Sarno throw the ceremonial switch. Afterwards, visitors can enjoy free hot cider, mini-train rides, cookies, and viewings of Holiday Magic. Music by Springfield’s High School of Science and Technology Band will round out the evening’s offerings.
Other programs and exhibits during the holidays include the Museums’ next Culture & Cocktails event, “Gingerbread, Magic, and Merriment,” on December 8 (ages 21 and up). For kids and families, there are Wednesday Playgroups for children ages 0-5, special themed Saturday programs tied to the Turtle Power! and Holiday Magic exhibits, and Boom! Pow! Zap! A Week of Superheroes during school vacation, December 27 – 30. On Sunday, December 18, the Springfield Jewish Community Center will also be holding an event at the Museums titled Illumination: A Celebration of Hanukkah.
The Museum Store is also a major draw during the holidays, thanks to the wide variety of gifts available for all ages and tastes. Decorative glassware and handcrafted pottery items are available, along with a large selection of children’s games, books, and educational kits and models. On Small Business Saturday, November 26, the Store will offer shoppers 10% off their entire purchase (20% for members), plus 40% off select jewelry. Gift wrapping and parking are always free.
MassMutual is the 2016 Season Supporter of the Springfield Museums.