Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

magnificent mile chicago winter lights festivalPhoto Credit

Chicago’s famous fashion avenue dresses up in over one million lights for the 20th annual Magnificent Mile Lights Festival this Saturday, November 19. With over twelve months of planning and the help of eight hundred elves (volunteers) the lights are brighter than ever. Mickey Mouse joined by gal-pal Minnie Mouse will illuminate the streets and enliven the holiday spirit. Friends of Mickey and Minnie will follow in procession on seasonal floats including, for the first time, new Disney characters Phineas and Ferb! The parade features over thirty eye-catching floats, balloons, marching bands and celebrities.

Puff the Magic Dragon, a holiday train and assorted other LED-lit parade floats will travel along the mile with intermittent performances by celebrities. This years stars include Lemonade Mouth, Radio Disney artist China Anne McClain and duo act Mary Mary. Among the balloons guaranteed to bring holiday cheer are Harris Bank’s 35-foot Hubert the Lion, a present, a holiday tree, the gingerbread man, and everyone’s favorite reindeer Rudolph. Pa rum pum pum pum will be coming from two nationally recognized marching bands as well as Illinois-based bands. The big guy dressed in red is saved for the finale where good girls and boys can see him arrive on a float designed to imitate his flying over the John Hancock building! And the grand finale will go off with a boom as fireworks explode over the Chicago River.

But, if you’re like a little child on Christmas morning, you can’t wait to tear into the celebrations the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival also hosts as day-time activities. From 11am to 5pm the Lights Festival Lane at Pioneer Court boasts free activities even a scrooge would enjoy. North Pole-like directional signage will guide you to more entertainment as you wander through this winter wonderland. Indulge your sweet tooth and decorate a piece of Eli’s Cheesecake, all the while satisfying your giving side by donating a non-perishable item to the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Get creative at the Whole Foods booth and design your own snowman or gingerbread house. Take a picture at the John Hancock Observatory booth with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Next, visit the Harris Stage from 11am – 3:45pm and listen to live musical performances from Disney Channel’s China Anne McClain and sisters, Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players, and The Never Land Pirate Band.

If you’re not too stuffed with cheesecake, marshmallow snowmen and gingerbread houses, trek over to the John Hancock Center to view the thirty-five foot ComEd LED Holiday Tree or visit Santa’s reindeer along the Trump Riverwalk from 3pm – 8pm. And if you plan on crossing some items off a loved one’s wish list, most stores along Michigan Avenue will remain open until 10pm. So, come join Mickey, Minnie and friends for the celebration of the season where bright is the new black!

Basic Info:
When: Saturday November 19, 2011
Lights Festival Lane: 11am-5pm
Musical Performances @ the Harris Stage: 11am-3:45pm
Lighting Procession on Michigan Ave: 5:30pm-7:00pm
Allstate Fireworks Spectacular: 6:55 p.m.
For more Information visit:

Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, direct from Disney Parks, dressed in their holiday finery to test the lights before stepping off as co-grand marshals for the 19th Annual Magnificent Mile Lights Festival presented by Harris, Saturday, November 20th.

About Natalie Scheid

When Mattel manufactures your idol and your nickname is Barbie life can get pretty unreal. My favorite activities include cheering on the White Sox (I’ve been converting Cubs fans since 1986), meeting new people and writing on the rooftop with the skyline as my backdrop. You might be able to find me at the opening of a new hot spot, soaking up some culture at a local museum or art show, or enjoying one of the cities fabulous festivals. So…. catch me if you can!

Leave a comment

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *