Magnificent Mile Lights Festival parade returns, bringing the holiday spirit to Chicago

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival is back for its 30th year Saturday night and hundreds of people lined the sidewalks as all the festivities kick off.

The festive event decked the streets after more than a year since being canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic.

"We're just happy to be downtown and see all the people," said Katie Dolan.

Mickey and Minnie Mouse will be part of the annual celebrations, as well as Santa Claus himself.

"We want to see Mickey and Minnie," said event goer Marie Pendergast.

"I want this! I want that! I want anything! Santa, where you at," added Donovan Williams.

However, despite the A-list appearances, families said they are just happy to be back out to celebrate the beginning of the holidays.

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"It feels great. We came from St. Louis, and we haven't been traveling for a while and we decided to come down to see the Festival of Lights," Pendergast said.

"It's cool. We've never been down here either and our mom's off-camera because she's too shy," said Alex Cervantes.

No matter your age, the event is sure to put the holiday twinkle in your eye.

"It's really nice! Everything is really nice," added Jennifer Mires. "It's just been a good opportunity to get the kids out. It's been nice!"

"Could you not ask for anything better!? This weather is awesome," added Jenya Anderson.

The event, with star-studded appearances as Grammy-nominated singer Deborah Cox serenaded the crowd.

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In addition to celebrating the parade's historic anniversary, Mickey and Minnie are also celebrating their own as they mark the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World.

The Magnificent Mile was shut down for the parade, which started at 5:30 p.m, but the bridge reopened to pedestrians at 7 p.m., and Michigan Ave. between Oak Street and Wacker also reopened to cars at 8 p.m.
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