SPRINGFIELD — The Forest Park Civic Association’s Illumination Night returns to Floral Park on Florentine Gardens on Saturday, June 8.

The event is a jam-packed block party with live music, food trucks, baked treats, lemonade and the decorating of porches on the surrounding streets.

Those who live on Florentine Gardens, Cherryvale Street, Pineywoods between Magnolia Terrace and Washington Boulevard, Beechwood Avenue, and Spruceland between Longhill Street and Magnolia Terrace, are encouraged to be creative with their porch and house to vie for the awards for best decorations.

Forest Park Civic Association member and Illumination Night event coordinator Kathy Post said, “Our goal is to get neighbors out celebrating together — not just people from the streets where the event is being held, but from all over the Forest Park neighborhood. We hope we have good weather, but even if the weather isn’t great, we will still go ahead and hold the event.”

The Forest Park Civic Association is a volunteer association of neighbors who want to make the Forest Park neighborhood of Springfield better. This year’s Illumination Night will commemorate the 60th anniversary of the organization’s founding in 1963 and feature the groundbreaking for the restoration of Floral Park with Mayor Domenic Sarno and city officials.

Illumination Night was started in 1990 by Steve Hayes, a longtime Forest Park resident, who also founded the Drama Studio on Oakland Street, as well as the Boar’s Head Festival at Trinity United Methodist Church. The idea was to have an old-fashioned celebration of the start of summer when people would light up their porches, listen to a band, and enjoy some strawberry shortcake and lemonade. Over the years, it has become a strong tradition that rotates around seven different streets.

The night will kick off at 6 p.m. with a children’s parade. Then the groundbreaking ceremony as followed by music from Bermudez Triangle with Junie Reyes. Porch judging will be from 7:15-8:15 p.m., with prizes awarded shortly after. The Forest Park Civic Association will rent a tent where the band will be, and have canopies up for where they will be selling raffle tickets, have FPCA membership information, and teams of people selling strawberry shortcake made with biscuits, fresh strawberries and whipped cream. Food trucks will include White Lion Brewing Company, Dev’s Mac and Cheese, and Sweetara & Co.

“Illumination Night is about getting people together, helping people feel like they live in a real neighborhood and know their neighbors,” Post said. “It’s an important part of what makes Springfield the ‘City of Homes,’ with each of the neighborhoods throughout Springfield making people feel like this is where they want to live.”

Reach out to Kathy Post at katherinempost@gmail.com if you want to help set up ahead of time, work with the children’s parade, or sell raffle tickets, serve strawberry shortcake or lemonade, or distribute glow-sticks for part of the evening. To learn more about the Forest Park Civic Association, visit its website at forestparkcivic.org or Facebook page. For questions, call 413-306-5454 or forestparkcivicassociation@gmail.com.