Small Business Saturday may not be as well known as Black Friday, or even Cyber Monday, but it continues to gain traction both nationwide and in the Springfield community.

In 2010, American Express launched a Small Business Saturday campaign to encourage shoppers to patronize small, local businesses rather than the big box chains that tend to dominate the Black Friday deals or the online shopping that drives Cyber Monday. The National Trust for Historic Preservation came on board as a partner, and many historic downtown areas now take part in special events around Small Business Saturday.

Downtown Springfield, Inc. is kicking off the Old Capitol Holiday Walks this Saturday, Nov. 24 with free horse-drawn carriage rides and Santa in the Old State Capitol, starting at noon. Holiday Walks guidebooks which feature deals at stores, restaurants and bars, as well as partner activities such as historic sites, will be available for free at participating downtown shops. The lighting of the community Christmas tree will take place at 5:30 p.m., featuring the new tree designed and manufactured by Ace Sign Company.

Lisa Clemmons Stott, executive director of DSI, noted, “We have about a dozen new stores and restaurants that have opened up this year, from Anvil and Forge to Corrine’s Closet to Anchors away, so there is always something new to try or buy in the downtown district.”

The Pharmacy Gallery & Art Space, which recently relocated to a space at 623 E. Adams, will be open during the Holiday Walks, as will the city’s new Welcome Center in the lower level of the Lincoln-Herndon Law Office. Stott said, “We have created two “Instagram Rooms” in the visitors’ center for people to stop by, check out the new space and take some fun holiday selfies to post.”

The Holiday Walks will continue every Wednesday from 5-8 p.m. and Saturday from 12-5 p.m. through Dec. 22. Many downtown businesses will also have special Sunday hours from 12-3 p.m.

Schedule of events:

Santa at the Old State Capitol
Saturdays 2pm – 5pm and Wednesdays 5pm – 8pm

Horse Drawn Carriage
Saturdays 1pm – 4pm and Wednesdays 5pm – 8pm

Music Performances
Old State Capitol
Saturdays 1pm & 4pm and Wednesdays 6pm

Union Park Holiday Lights and Music