Magnificent Mile Lights Festival parade sparkles on Michigan Avenue

November 17, 2012 (CHICAGO)

Crews were setting up for the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival and parade featuring 1 million lights on 200 trees that are setting the stage for performances to thrill the entire family.

It is the country's largest evening holiday celebration. More than 1 million people are expected to attend.

The parade kicks off at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, and for the third year in a row, the grand marshals, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, will lead that parade and over 40 floats and balloons from the Walt Disney Resort along with marching bands from across the country and musical performances.

"Every year, we've got something that's just bigger and brighter. There's always something new. We've got the BMO Harris Stage that has the Disney channels. We also have really great activities going on at the Lights Festival Lane throughout the day. So, really things start at 11 o'clock and just go all day," said BMO Harris Bank's Joel Morales.

Saturday marks the 21st annual Magnificent Mile Lights Festival, which will feature an appearance by Santa Claus.

Drivers are warned several street closures will be in effect for Saturday's festivities. North Michigan Avenue will be closed at 4 p.m. along with several streets around the route. Click here for a map of the parade route.

Officials advise those heading to the parade to use public transportation and to expect large crowds and a lot of traffic.

The lights festival will end with a huge fireworks display over the Chicago River.

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