Saturday, November 18th is the day folks. The day that over one million lights will begin illuminating The Magnificent Mile for the holiday season.
The stretch of Michigan Avenue between Wacker Drive and Oak Street is one of the most magical places to embrace the festive cheer when more than 200 glistening trees begin offering a phenomenal spectacle in the heart of Chicago.
This year, the 2023 Wintrust Magnificent Mile Lights Festival will take place on Saturday, November 18 kicking off with its festive thoroughfare of booths and free family activities from 11 am -4 pm before the famed tree-lighting parade streams down North Michigan Avenue led by Grand Marshals Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse from Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.
Featuring “fabulous floats, giant helium balloons, exciting marching bands, celebrities, musical performances, Santa Claus, and more” the event sees one million lights begin illuminating The Magnificent Mile.
The event draws to a grand conclusion with the Wintrust Fireworks Spectacular over the Chicago River at Michigan Avenue at 7:00 p.m.
In addition to 385 marching band members, 200 glistening trees, 40 dazzling floats, 3 enormous helium balloons floating and 5 additional beloved friends from Walt Disney World Resort there will be a roster of sensational live music acts.
Sugarhill Gang, Sister Sledge, and the Funky Bunch are all set to perform next weekend as well as American Idol favorite, Colin Stough.
With the first recognized event dating back to 1949, Chicago’s iconic Magnificent Mile Lights Festival has grown and grown in scale and scope since.
According to the festival’s Chairman Gail Spreen the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival “is the third-largest parade in the country, televised in over 91 percent of the United States.
The event-filled Saturday begins at 11:00 am starting at Pioneer Court (401 North Michigan Avenue) with a free-admission outdoor festival including free coffee samples from Dunkin’ and photos with Santa Claus, courtesy of Wintrust!
Parade route closures will then begin as early as 3 p.m. Both DuSable Bridge (formerly Michigan Avenue Bridge) will be closed to pedestrian traffic and North Michigan Avenue will be closed to vehicular traffic between Oak Street and Wacker Drive both starting from 3 p.m.
At 5.30 pm the parade then takes off down North Michigan Avenue guided by Grand Marshals Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse and Santa on his sleigh as they make their way through the crowds flanked either side by the spellbinding lines of trees.
For those unable to catch the parade live, or simply keen to relive the magic, ABC broadcasts the event throughout the holiday season across nearly 100% of the county.
Relive the magic locally the next day on ABC 7 Chicago on Sunday, November 19 at 6 p.m. CT and on Sunday, December 3 at 4:00 p.m.
More information can be found at themagnificentmile.com/lights-festival.
[Featured image taken by Dan Jarvis courtesy of The Wintrust Magnificent Mile Lights Festival]