Chicago’s Magnificent Mile Lights Festival® presented by BMO Harris Bank, the country’s largest evening holiday celebration, will ring in the 2011 holiday season for the nation on Saturday, November 19 with a “bigger, better and brighter” schedule of events. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the beloved holiday tradition.
One million people from around the country will travel to Chicago to experience a weekend of nonstop holiday offerings that lead up to a magical evening procession featuring more than 40 magnificent floats, helium-filled balloons, classic characters from Walt Disney World® Resort in Florida, lively marching bands and musical performances from top artists. Grand marshals Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse from the Walt Disney World® Resort will appear together on the lead parade vehicle for the second year in a row to illuminate one million lights on 200 trees along Michigan Avenue, One of the Great Avenues of the World.
The nationally-televised event will be broadcast on Saturday, November 19 from 6 p.m. – 7 p.m. CST in local markets on ABC 7 Chicago and in more than 65 markets around the country throughout the holiday season. Broadcast times are available in local listings.
Star appearances include star of Disney Channel’s hit series “A.N.T. Farm” and Hollywood Records recording artist China Anne McClain, along with her sisters Lauryn McClain and Sierra McClain; My Block/Columbia Records multi-Grammy Award-winning inspirational recording act Mary Mary; American Idol finalists Haley Reinhart and Casey Abrams; cast members of the Disney Channel Original Movie “Lemonade Mouth;” Jake and the Never Land Pirate Band as seen on Disney Junior; Radio Disney’s N.B.T. (Next Big Thing) artist Shealeigh from Chicago; Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players; Disney Music Group Artist Nathan Pacheco; and more.
The holiday celebration also includes:
The procession, starting at 5:30 p.m. CST, features a spectacular collection of floats from favorites including:
- The Chicago Flower & Garden Show (March 10 – 18) will provide a glimpse into the warmer seasons with their “Spring Experience” procession float, a “spring globe” infused with the colors, style and inspiration of “Hort Couture.”
- Candyality, “Chicago’s sweetest destination,” will showcase a candy-inspired holiday wonderland featuring more than 10,000 lights and a truckload of candy
- Garrett Popcorn Shops will provide samples of their world-famous popcorn along the procession route as it is freshly popped on their float
- Harry Caray’s Restaurant Group will honor the city’s renowned sports culture with baseball great Ernie Banks, Dutchie Caray and other sports legends
- Santa Claus will greet children of all ages as he flies over the John Hancock Center on his sleigh
- Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Daisy Duck as well as favorite characters from Walt Disney World® Resort in Florida will add excitement to the procession
- Seasonal offers from participating businesses in The Magnificent Mile district including holiday hotel packages, shopping perks, dining specials and more.
- The stunning Fireworks Spectacular over the Chicago River, created from more than 10,000 handmade fireworks shells from Lumina, will serve as the grand finale of the beloved holiday event at approximately 6:55 p.m. CST
- Performances from local marching bands including Crystal Lake Strikers Drum-Line, Morton West High School Band; Loyola Academy High School Band and Proviso East High School Band as well as the Spring-Ford High School Band from Royersford, PA
- Larger-than-life helium-filled balloons including Kermit the Frog sponsored by Disney’s The Muppets, a famous red-nosed reindeer and more
- A treasure hunt from BMO Harris Bank offering families great prizes and more information about BMO Harris Bank’s new “Helpful Steps for Parents,” a program designed to help parents get a jump start on saving for their children’s futures. Hubert the Lion will also be available for pictures
- “Lights Festival Lane,” an interactive, holiday wonderland featuring booths from BMO Harris Bank, Eli’s Cheesecake, DePaul University, Radio Disney/AM 1300, Chevy, John Hancock Observatory, The Museum of Science and Industry, DoubleTree by Hilton Chicago Magnificent Mile and more (401 N. Michigan Avenue)
- A full lineup of live musical performances on the BMO Harris Bank Stage in Pioneer Court from 11 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. CST (401 N. Michigan Avenue)