Magnificent Mile Lights Festival celebrates holiday season in Chicago

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival kicked off the holiday season on Saturday along Michigan Avenue in Chicago with a parade, musical performances, Disney characters and fireworks.


The annual parade's grand marshal was Mickey Mouse, escorted by the lovely Minnie Mouse. The route was illuminated with over one million lights on 200 trees along "The Magnificent Mile." This year's event marked the 26th anniversary of the sparkling Lights Festival.

Despite the celebratory mood, security was tight. CPD vehicles and snow plows lined the perimeter.

"You have a very secure perimeter for this parade. There is a standard package that you typically get. We amplified that this year," said Rich Guidice, of the city's Office of Emergency Management & Communications.

Beefed up patrols are planned for all upcoming holiday events in Chicago.

The temperatures were cold on Saturday, but it didn't keep fans away.

"It is my third year coming down. I love it every time and everyone around is very friendly," said Lauren Gutgesell.

"My wife and I used to come down here every year. We haven't been here in about ten years and I wanted my grandkids to see this operation down here," said Larry Schaller.

Re-broadcasts will air 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 2; 11 p.m. to midnight Dec. 9; 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 10 on ABC7 Chicago.

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The Christmas shopping season is longer this year, and many people wasted no time by hitting the stores on Saturday for sales.

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