Art Institute of Chicago unveils iconic lions' giant wreaths for beloved holiday tradition

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The holiday season is roaring in at the Art Institute of Chicago.

The iconic lions out front are all decked out in their giant evergreen wreaths for the 28th straight year.

A small crowd gathered outside the museum on Friday morning for the wreathing of the lions.

Shirley McAlpine and her husband, Dan, experienced the annual ceremony for the first time after moving to Chicago from London with their children 7 years ago.

"We have to create our own tradition and this is a way of like, getting Christmas started," Shirley McAlpine said.

Dan McAlpine said his family loves the traditions of the holiday season, especially his daughter.

"She misses being in London, she misses tradition, so I said, 'Let's go and do this,'" McAlpine said.

The Chicago Gay Men's Chorus helped everyone get into the holiday spirit on the day after Thanksgiving.

Just like last year, the already wreathed lions were unveiled, rather than having the giant decorations placed during the event.

"People have always used the museum as a place to gather around the holidays, and so we take advantage of that and just make it as inviting as possible," said Nora Gainer of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Copyright © 2019 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.