Bright Nights at Forest Park to open for 2020 season

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Plans for Bright Nights at Forest Park’s 2020 season were announced at the Barney Carriage House in Forest Park Thursday morning. 

The Spirit of Springfield has been working with the City of Springfield to prepare COVID-19 protocols in order to provide a safe and festive holiday event for its 26th season.

“We are so pleased that Bright Nights at Forest Park will continue to be a part of the holiday season.  It is important we celebrate each and every holiday while staying safe and healthy,” said Matt.  “We want to keep the tradition glowing.”

Mayor Sarno said, “It puts a twinkle in everybody’s eye, no matter young or wise in years of wisdom.”

It’s been 26 years since the inaugural bright night’s event lit up forest park in 1995, since then, more than 6 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,” said Matt. “People need tradition, and this is certainly a tradition. People are looking for something positive to do with their family and friends.”

“The uniqueness of Bright Nights which is known across the country, the uniqueness of being in a vehicle and the way it’s going to be put across, we are going to be able to do it with safe and sound public health,” Mayor Sarno told 22News.

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 setup and breakdown of the event will have to wear masks and 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,” said Sullivan. “We won’t have the concessions open.”

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.

“Springfield Health and Human Services Commissioner, Helen Caulton-Harris, said, “Our emotional and mental health has really been impacted by COVID-19. 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 November 25, 2020 through January 3, 2021. 

Sullivan said, “We wouldn’t do it unless it was safe. We are going to have a safe, nice, healthy Bright Nights to enjoy.”


  • $23 per car
  • $100 for buses
  • $50 for vehicles with seating from 17 to 30 people

To keep guests safe, the gift shop, amusement rides, horse-drawn wagon, carriage rides, and visits with and Supper with Santa will not be available. 

“Bright Nights is needed more than ever now, especially in these challenging and surreal times we are currently living in!,” stated Mayor Sarno.  “I’m very pleased that my city team and the Spirit of Springfield have worked together to come up with a safe and acceptable public health model that allows our beloved Bright Nights to continue to bring holiday cheer to all our families from near and far.  Also, I am very appreciative of our generous business and philanthropic community for their continued belief and investment in our City of Springfield.”

Spirit of Springfield President Judy Matt was joined with the event’s co-creator, Patrick Sullivan, Executive Director of Springfield’s Department of Parks, Buildings and Recreation Management, Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, Helen Caulton-Harris, Commissioner for the Springfield Department of Health and Human Services, Mary Kay Wydra, President of the Greater Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau, Paul Picknelly, President of Monarch Enterprises, John Sjoberg, Vice Chair of the Spirit of Springfield, Brian Santaniello, Chair of the Springfield Park Commission, Anthony Cignoli, President of A. L. Cignoli Company, members of the Spirit of Springfield Board and Springfield Park Commission, as well as Bright Nights sponsors and supporters.

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