Holiday spirit lights up Michigan Avenue

November 20, 2011 5:15:56 AM PST
Hundreds of thousands of people filled downtown Chicago Saturday evening for the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival. Retailers hoped they would stick around to shop.

With the help of Mickey and Minnie Mouse, who served as grand marshals for the 20th annual parade, Michigan Avenue became a truly Magnificent Mile. The only things brighter than the more than 1 million twinkling lights, were the smiles on the faces of those taking it all in.

"The kids love it. We enjoy it every year. Very Chicago," Ashley Wiggins said.

"People are great, lot of energy. It's awesome. People are excited. Everybody's in a pretty good mood. So it's wonderful," James Neal said.

The festival featured live music and dancing, eye-catching floats and giant balloons. Joining Mickey and Minnie were Goofy and Santa. But one Disney Channel star seemed to steal the show.

"I love it. I just met China Anne McClain!" Shamaria Barron, 8, said. "A.N.T. Farm!"

The annual festival helps jumpstart the holiday shopping season. Many arrived early in search of a bargain.

"Extended hours, some early deals, and the shelves are full," said John Shikow, Greater North Michigan Avenue Association.

"We are going to be here a few days doing a lot of shopping and eating and enjoying the city," Jorge Cansinos, shopper, said.

(Note: Disney is the parent company of ABC7 Chicago.)

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