As businesses in the Springfield area continue to cope with ripple effects of the pandemic, including declines in tourism, the Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau has launched a new program to encourage people to patronize businesses in the community.

The SPI 7 in 7 competition consists of seven categories with seven activities each that can be completed over a seven-week time period that began Sept. 8. Participants upload pictures of themselves completing activities each week to be eligible to win prizes.

“I had seen a similar program in Bloomington, Indiana,” said Amy Beadle, sales and marketing manager for Visit Springfield. “We took their concept and shaped it into what Springfield might need for the current day.”

Noting that the majority of meetings and conventions have been postponed, Beadle said, “Our focus would normally be outside of Springfield, bringing people in. But we’re in a time where we have to think hyper-local.”

The activities include eating a horseshoe, riding the Ferris wheel at SCHEELS, visiting an art gallery or even picking up litter in your own neighborhood. Beadle said the focus was on identifying activities that “we can suggest people do safely and independently.”

The campaign is also partnering with hotels to encourage overnight stays for people who may be looking for a road trip or weekend getaway.

“The longer (the pandemic) goes on, it’s really hard to come up with positive things. We want to encourage and excite people to go out into the community and patronize businesses, any type of business,” said Beadle. “It’s to raise our community’s spirits and get people to shop local, think local and eat local.”

To download or print the SPI 7 in 7 competition form, go to