Springfield celebrates annual tree lighting tradition despite COVID-19 setbacks

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — 2020 has taken many meaningful experiences from us, but not holiday cheer.

On Saturday, Nov. 21, Springfield continued its tree lighting tradition at Park Central Square but in a different way than years past.

The tree is 35 feet and yes… It’s real.

The city received this tree from a generous family of five who wanted to spread some holiday joy.

This tree grew in Patrick Wilkins’ yard for decades, almost 30 years.

“The city called us and asked if we would be willing to donate a tree from our yard,” Wilkins said.

“Its very beautiful in front of our house for many years but when this opportunity came around we thought it would be something really nice for the city,” Wilkins said.

Springfield Mayor Ken McClure celebrated the city’s fourth annual Christmas tree lighting a bit differently because of the weather and COVID-19.

The tree lighting was televised so people could watch from home.

“2020 has been incredibly difficult for individuals, for families, for businesses from our community,” McClure said. “But we’re nearing the end of 2020, let’s celebrate and give thanks for all of those things of which we have to be grateful. COVID cannot stop holiday cheer.”

A drive-thru selfie with Santa was available after the tree lighting.

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