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CHICAGO | The Wintrust Magnificent Mile Lights Festival® Celebrates with a Sparkling Holiday Parade

The Wintrust Magnificent Mile Lights Festival® Celebrates with a Sparkling Holiday Parade


Head Downtown Chicago for this Fun Family Event

Grand Parade Marshals Mickey Mouse And Minnie Mouse From Walt Disney World® Resort Magically Illuminate One Million Lights On 200 Trees During The Largest Evening Parade In America

CHICAGO–The Wintrust Magnificent Mile Lights Festival®, in its 32nd year of being produced by The Magnificent Mile Association, draws together generations of families who begin each holiday season with festive, family-friendly activities and the largest evening parade in America. On Saturday, Nov. 18, smiles will brighten as Grand Marshals Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse from Walt Disney World Resort® magically illuminate one million lights on 200 trees adorning Chicago’s Michigan Avenue. The star-studded parade includes legendary and contemporary musical artists, delightful helium balloons, world-class entertainment and favorite mascots, luminous floats, and Santa Claus, who soars in his sleigh down The Magnificent Mile to welcome the holiday season before an incredible fireworks finale.

The Wintrust Magnificent Mile Lights Festival parade-goers are invited for the first time to don outrageously festive sweaters to attempt to set a record for the most holiday sweaters at a parade.

“Our attempt to set this festive sweater record adds a new layer of holiday spirit to a tradition that The Magnificent Mile Association has produced for 32 years,” says Kimberly Bares, President and CEO, The Magnificent Mile Association. “We are grateful for the tremendous support of our sponsors Wintrust, Enjoy Illinois, Dunkin’ and AT&T, and our 600 volunteers for helping to create a magical experience for hundreds of thousands of parade-goers from around the globe.”

Quick Look: The Wintrust Magnificent Mile Lights Festival Schedule Saturday, Nov. 18: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. – Lights Festival Lane (401 N. Michigan Ave.); 4 – 7 p.m. – Be counted for the sweater record attempt along the parade route; 5:30 p.m. – The Wintrust Magnificent Mile Lights Festival Parade Steps Off – (Oak St. & Michigan Ave. south to Wacker Dr.); 7 p.m. – The Wintrust Fireworks Spectacular (Chicago River and Wacker Dr.)

On Saturday, November 18 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Lights Festival Lane is alive with free activities including Wintrust Photos with Santa, complimentary cheesecake (and decorating!) with Eli’s Cheesecake Company, samples of new holiday coffee flavors from Dunkin’, Sloomoo slime with Sloomoo the Mascot, CN Railway’s Rail Safety Prize Wheel with mascot Milo, lottery tickets and holiday photos with Illinois Lottery, pop-up musical and special performances including The Noggeler Carnival Band from Chicago’s Sister City Lucerne, Switzerland, NASCAR Chicago Street Race’s Racing Simulator, free samples of Lifeway Kefir and many additional interactive surprises throughout the day.

At 5:30 p.m. Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse from Walt Disney World Resort® step off at Oak Street and travel down Michigan Avenue to Wacker Drive. They are joined in the 2023 parade by Goofy, Pluto, Chip, Dale and Mirabel from Encanto.

Fans will be entertained by musical superstars including Grammy-nominated Sister Sledge, The Sugarhill Gang, The Funky Bunch, Katie Kadan, and American Idol finalist Colin Stough. The rousing parade also features the Petoskey Steel Drum Band plus impressive marching bands Newton High School Marching Eagles (Jasper County, IL), Cullman High School Bearcat Band (Cullman, AL), and Cuyahoga Falls Marching Tiger Band (Cuyahoga Falls, OH) who will energize crowds. Special guests along the parade route will also include Wintrust’s favorite mascots celebrating with the Crystal Lake Strikers Drumline, the Swiss Noggeler Carnival Band, and The Cirque Experience/Wheel Jam.

The Wintrust Magnificent Mile Lights Festival draws an international audience through global influencers and media from around the world invited to the parade by Choose Chicago. This year, DJ Chip E, the godfather of House music, will entertain aboard their festive double-decker bus.

Helium balloons fly high overhead including Rudolph presented by the athletes of Special Olympics Illinois, a giant festive gift package from Water Tower Place, and the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital balloon. Santa Claus will soar down the route with lots of cheer on Wintrust’s grand finale float to officially usher in the start of the holiday season. The Wintrust Fireworks Spectacular delivers a thrilling finale at 7 p.m. over the Chicago River at Michigan Avenue.

ABC 7 will capture all the magic of this anticipated holiday event with an hour-long special, Sunday, November 19 at 6 PM on ABC 7. Hosted by ABC 7’s Cheryl Burton, Ryan Chiaverini, Judy Hsu and Hosea Sanders, the special will showcase Latin Jazz family legend, Tito Puente Jr., entertaining atop the iconic Wrigley Building. Performances by Broadway in Chicago’s Tony Award-winning “Hamilton” celebrating its return to Chicago and “Boop! The Musical,” a new Broadway bound extravaganza, Sister Sledge and The Sugar Hill Gang, among others, will also be featured. The special will be streamed on and available to delight national audiences throughout the season.

For a complete schedule of events, holiday offers from area businesses, and ways to participate as we attempt to set a record for the most holiday sweaters at a parade, visit;and follow The Magnificent Mile on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


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