The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The magic of the holidays, Chicago style, was captured for viewers around the country with musical performances, beloved Walt Disney World characters, and dazzling fireworks, as more than a million twinkling Michigan Avenue lights set the stage for the spectacular BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival, on Saturday, November 17.

Encore broadcasts will air Saturday, December 1, from 4-5 p.m.; Sunday, December 9 from 4-5 p.m. on ABC 7 Chicago. The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival highlights is available on-demand above.

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The hour-long special, showcased the country's largest evening holiday celebration, opened with a performance by heartthrob Cody Simpson and The Tide. ABC7 Eyewitness news anchors Cheryl Burton and Alan Krashesky served as co-hosts of the broadcast with ABC 7's Judy Hsu and Janet Davies capturing the magic from the street.

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Celebrity performances along the parade route included Louis York, the creation of multi-Grammy nominated songwriting and production duo Claude Kelly and Chuck Harmony; and American vocalist YaDonna West.

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Featured celebrities spotlighted include singer/songwriter Cailee Rae; star of Disney Channel's recently released Freaky Friday, presented by Southwest Airlines, Cozi Zuehlsdorff; American Idol favorite Michael J. Woodard. Disney Music Group's new a cappella singing sensation, DCapella, will close out the performance.

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This is the 12th consecutive year the much anticipated tradition was broadcast to Chicago audiences on ABC 7, the most watched television station in the city. Throughout the holiday season, the special will also be watched and enjoyed by a national audience, via syndication in 90 percent of the country.

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In the first official parade of the holidays, Grand Marshal Mickey Mouse, escorted by the lovely Minnie Mouse, illuminated over one million lights on 200 trees along "The Magnificent Mile," one of the grandest avenues in the world. Appearing on an awe-inspiring float, the world's most famous couple will lead the way for more than 40 breathtaking floats, helium-filled balloons, including the larger than life Hubert the Lion and popular Chicago team mascots Benny the Bull, Tommy the Hawk and more. Classic characters from the Walt Disney World Resort including Woody and Jessie from Toy Story and Timon and Pumba from The Lion King; six lively marching bands from across the country and musical performances by top artists will delight parade goers and viewers alike.

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Members of the ABC 7 Eyewitness News team--featuring Terrell Brown, Jessica D'Onofrio, Mark Giangreco, Eric Horng; Dionne Miller, Larry Mowry and Cheryl Scott spread good cheer as they rode atop ABC 7 Chicago's whimsical float during the parade.

The live broadcast's grand finale lit up the sky (and children's hearts) with a dazzling fireworks display over the Chicago River, just as Santa made his exciting arrival on the scene, as he waved from a beautiful and magical float!
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