Lights Festival shines on Magnificent Mile

November 21, 2009 (CHICAGO) For retailers, it is critical that all the upbeat people start shopping and help the down-and-out economy.

Ready or not, here come the holidays.

"Being a Christmas baby, this is my favorite time of year," one spectator told ABC7 Chicago.

Mickey Mouse did the honors, lighting up the Magnificent Mile, not to mention the faces of the thousands who watched.

,p> "Mickey mouse, the lights, dancing," said woman holding a little boy who indicated the music was the best part of the show.

"I've been here every year, and it just keeps getting better and better," another person said.

The singing, the spectacle, and of course, Santa Claus, all combined to kick-off Chicago's holiday shopping season.

"Basicall,y because we've made it a full day of activities, so many people come down. The weather really helps. When they're done here, they can't help but start the holiday shopping" said the festival's Jennifer Woolford.

The National Retail Federation is predicting a drop in holiday spending this season. Last year, they reported the average person spent $705. This year, they predict it'll be $682 a person.

"The list is trimmed down, of course, with the economy, but we'll still shop for everyone," holiday shopper Jodi Steal said.

"I'm unemployed right now. So, it'll be a little on the homemade side, but it'll be fun," Nancy Rascon said.

Algonquin resident Aimee Mazzoni received her Christmas present early this year: a marriage proposal after six years of dating her boyfriend, Bill Cosban.

"I know! A long time, right? I told her the ring would be worth it. Hopefully, it is," Cosban said.

"Yep, it's worth it," said Mazzoni.

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