COVID-19 not stopping Bright Nights at Forest Park

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Many events and celebrations have had to be canceled or postponed due to COVID-19, but not Bright Nights at Forest Park.

It’s been 26 years since the inaugural Bright Nights event lit up Forest Park in 1995. Since then, more than six million people have traveled to Springfield to experience the colorful displays for themselves.

Spirit of Springfield President Judy Matt told 22News, this year will be no different.

“People need something. People need tradition, and this is certainly a tradition,” said Matt. “People are looking for something positive to do with their family and friends.”

“It puts a twinkle in everybody’s eye – no matter young or wise in years of wisdom,” said mayor Domenic Sarno of the holiday tradition.

The Spirit of Springfield has been working with the city to make sure Bright Nights is a safe and festive holiday event this year.

Guests will have to buy tickets in advance online. These tickets will be scanned at the front gate, without ever having to roll down the car window. Crews responsible for set up and breakdown of the event will have to wear masks. Facilities will be regularly cleaned.

But, some things will have to change so everyone stays safe according to Springfield’s Parks and Building director, Patrick Sullivan.

“We won’t have the Santa’s Village open. We won’t have the concessions open,” Sullivan said. “We wouldn’t do it unless it was safe. We are going to have a safe, nice, healthy Bright Nights to enjoy.”

Springfield Health and Human Services Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris told 22News, Bright Nights is exactly what is needed to bring some holiday cheer to people’s lives.

“Our emotional and mental health has really been impacted by COVID-19,” said Caulton-Harris. “Bright Nights is one of those things that we can smile about through our masks and make sure we are celebrating.”

Bright Nights at Forest Park will open for its 26th season on Wednesday, November 25th.

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