The Lighting of the Trees on the Magnificent Mile with tiny white lights dates back to the 1959 when the Greater North Michigan Avenue started this holiday tradition.
It wasn’t until 1992 when the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival as we know it today originated under the leadership of Founding Lights Festival Chairman Marc Schulman, the President of Eli’s Cheesecake. In an article in the Tribune in November of 1992, Schulman told Rick Kogan in an article entitled “It’s time to turn on the Lights” that “It’s all meant to be fund, to really kickoff the holiday season in a style reminiscent of bygone days.” “We think this will mark the new coming of age of Michigan Avenue, our hope is that the lighting of the trees will become a holiday highlight.”
On Saturday, November 23rd, over one million people lined the Magnificent Mile for the 22nd Anniversary of the Lights Festival. Eli’s Cheesecake President Marc Schulman, Founding Chairman of the Event and Past Greater North Michigan Avenue Association Chair joined Association Chairperson Mary Ann Rose, past Association Chairman, Ralph Weber and Grant Deporter (Grant was also a Chairman of the Lights Festival), past Lights Festival Chairpersons, Kelly Wisecarver and Robert Dion, 2nd Ward Alderman Robert Fioretti, Choose Chicago CEO, Don Welsh, and Association President, John Chikow, as part of the Legacy of Leaders that leads the Procession.