Michigan Avenue hosts spectacular lights festival

November 17, 2012 (CHICAGO)

More than 1 million lights on 200 trees made the Magnificent Mile even more spectacular.

"It's so much fun," said Stephanie Loughrin. "Everyone is so excited, and all the kids are having a great time."

"It's really interesting," Soraiya Concepcion said. "I think they have these lights out for a reason, so everybody can see."

This year's lights festival had folks bustin' a move and grinning ear to ear.

There were eye-popping balloons and plenty of old friends, and plenty of old friends.

"The giant Rudolph was crazy! I like the giant nose. I just wish it lit up. I would get to touch it," said Havilland Williams.

"Mickey Mouse, that's what we mostly came here for, Mickey Mouse. That's the very first thing here," said Imani Joseph.

Not far behind those world-famous mice, a Cub was spotted.

"This is great for the kids," said Cubs Hall of Famer Billy Williams. "Santa's coming to town, and we're going to have a good time down here. This is joy."

This is the sixth year in a row ABC 7 has broadcast the festival live.

The annual event marks the start of the holiday shopping season.

"Holiday hiring was up which is a great indicator, and everybody I'm talking to so far is expecting a couple points ahead of last year," said John Chikow of the Greater North Michigan Avenue Assoc.

For the stores along Michigan Ave., the Lights Festival is like a mini-Black Friday, bringing in about 70 percent of the business that they typically see the day after Thanksgiving.

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