In December 1989, the Spirit of Springfield was incorporated and immediately began working to fulfill its mission to “promote community events and encourage civic pride.” It started with the celebration of Springfield’s 354th birthday which included “Springfield’s Annual Hot Air Balloon Classic” and the “World’s Largest Pancake Breakfast.” Millions of residents have been entertained with additional events MassMutual Star Spangled Springfield, Tower Square Parade of the Big Balloons, City of Bright Nights Ball and Bright Nights at Forest Park.

The private non-profit organization has also been known to lend its expertise to the City of Springfield for celebrations including special anniversaries like Springfield’s 375th and the Municipal Group’s 100th. There have been several mayoral inaugurations, building dedications, swearing-in ceremonies and retirement receptions. They have also coordinated Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinements for greats like Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, and the opening of the new Basketball Hall of Fame.

In order to produce these events, the Spirit of Springfield relies on the support of local, regional and national business who donate approximately $450,000. This is matched by another $450,000 from in-kind donations that include everything from media coverage to flatbed trailers, cups, plates, napkins and pancake batter. Lending a hand to assist with events are volunteers who cook and serve at the World’s Largest Pancake Breakfast, balloon wranglers who guide helium filled giants down Main Street for the Tower Square Parade of the Big Balloons, students from Western New England University that greet guests at the City of Bright Nights Ball. There are also an array of volunteers who serve on committees as well as the dedicated members of the Spirit of Springfield Board of Directors.

Learn more about the Spirit of Springfield in
The Republican – Spirit of Springfield 25th Anniversary Special Section

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