Fest Yourself on Fun at Springfield’s Best Festivals
What would a city be without festivities to bring the community together? Fortunately, Springfield residents never have to worry about struggling to find an exciting way to spend the weekend, especially with our array of festivals. Throughout the year, you’ll find it’s difficult to find a weekend without some kind of event going on!
Since it would be nearly impossible to list every festival that goes on around the 417, we’ve provided an inside look at a few of our favorites. Take a look at our picks!
Held in late March/early April
Despite only being in its second year, Rated SGF has already made a name for itself in the Springfield community. Between showing Oscar-winning standouts, hosting Q&As with directors and throwing one of the best after parties in the city, it’s quickly become a can’t-miss event. Plus, you’ll get to watch these films in the famous Fox Theatre, one of Springfield’s oldest movie theatres which was recently renovated into the new History Museum on the Square.
Held in late April/May
Take part in the largest fine arts festival in Southwest Missouri at ArtsFest. As you make your way down Historic Walnut Street, you’ll encounter over 100 vendors ranging from local shops to artisans selling handmade goods. Each year, more than 20,000 people from across the region turn out to purchase local art while enjoying live music and food from area food vendors. Whether you’re an artist yourself or just an advocate of the arts, this festival is one of Springfield’s must-attend events of the year.
Taste of SoMo
Held in June
If you’d like to take a bite out of the city’s best fare, check out Taste of SoMo — a yearly event held in Park Central Square. During the festival, you’ll get to hear some great local music while sampling some of the area’s restaurants. Each year, more than 30 eateries show up to show off their latest cuisine innovations, ready to be enjoyed by festival goers. If you want the chance to earn some extra sampling tickets, and some SoMo swag, you can participate in SoMo Restaurant Week, a program where you’ll get to try different restaurants throughout the week to get stamps on your Foodie card.
Birthplace of Route 66 Festival
Held in August
Fans of the Mother Road flock from across the country to make it to the Birthplace of Route 66 Festival. This festival has it all: a car show, parade, a 6.6K run/walk, local musicians and Route 66-inspired artists, authors and collectors. If you want to celebrate Route 66, there’s no better place to be than the location where the famous Mother Road conceptualized. Best of all? This festival is totally free to anyone who wants to visit!
Springfield Jazz Festival
Held in September
Jazz groups come from around the region to perform at the Springfield Jazz Festival. This event is free to the public and provides jazz music both from area musicians and local college jazz groups. Each year, the festival works to bring in a headliner to the Gillioz Theatre who is known for their contributions to jazz, including names like Ramsey Lewis and Pat Metheny. If you’re a fan of jazz, this is an event you won’t want to miss out on.
Japanese Fall Festival
Held in September
Each year, Springfieldians gather to celebrate our sister city of Isesaki, Japan at the Japanese Fall Festival. Locals are encouraged to take part in traditional Japanese experiences like tea ceremonies, kimono try-ons and top spinning (koma-mawashi). Dozens of performers show off their talents each year, including cosplay demonstrators, drummers, folk dancers, judo performers and storytellers. Since the festival is held in the Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden at the Springfield Botanical Gardens, you can also take some time to view the koi lake, moon bridge and meditation garden there.
Held in September
Got a craving for some apple cider? Get your fill of fall treats at the annual Cider Days on Walnut Street. Each year, vendors line up across this historic street to share fun fall activities and sell artisan crafts. You’ll also want to stop by the Scarecrow Village, where local businesses compete to decorate the best scarecrow that matches their store. This festival runs for two days, so you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy!
Festival of Lights
Held in late November
The holiday season in Springfield doesn’t start until the Festival of Lights. Each year, Springfield residents gather to celebrate the lighting of the tree downtown while enjoying musical performances, free carriage rides and free ice skating. Santa also makes his debut for the season, along with various other costumed characters ready for the holiday season. The festival hosts other activities throughout November and December, including holiday productions, a Christmas parade and more.
Do you want to discover even more of the fun activities Springfield has to offer?
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