We just finished my third of the top three weekends of the year; first is the
first Saturday of Taste of Chicago, when we celebrate the birthday for Taste of
Chicago and Eli’s–in 2005, it will be the 25th for Eli’s and Taste to be
celebrated on Saturday; and second is the Eli’s Cheesecake, which will be on
Saturday and Sunday, September 17 and September 18th in 2005

The third big weekend is the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival, which occurs
on the Saturday before Thanksgiving; in 2004 on November 20th.

The event was a huge success with over 800,000 people lining Michigan Avenue
for the procession. The Sun Times had a great cover on Sunday acknowledging this
event for kicking off the holiday season in style and for the leadership of the
Greater North Michigan Avenue Association. As the Founding Chairman of this
event, it is so great to see it grow and for me to work with such dedicated
volunteers, staff and partners like Walt Disney Attractions and the Chicago

For Eli’s, the Lights Festival Saturday is one of our busiest of
the year. It is the first day for our Holiday Dock Sales (the other two being
December 10th and 17th this year). This is an opportunity for our fans to see
the whole range of our products and to get some great bargains. If you missed
the November dock sale, visit us in December when we are partnering with our
neighbor, Spectra Merchandising International, to offer a special sale on Eli’s
products and unique electronic offerings.

 photo of the dock opening








On Michigan Avenue, we had a prime location on Pioneer Court to display our
giant Lights Festival Cake and to offer free Eli’s Cheesecake slice decorating
for kids and adults alike. We very much appreciate the support of the students
from the Chicago High School for Agriculture Science who helped us serve over
5,000 slices of cheesecake that day alone. We also appreciate the support of
Jewel Food Stores who helped us promote the event and our food drive in
connection with the Greater Chicago Food Depository. We had a great turnout of
food donations and cash donations which mean so much in the fight to cure hunger
in Chicago.















At 6pm, the procession to “light the lights” headed up Michigan Avenue from Oak
Street to the River. It was my pleasure to be part of a “Legacy of Leaders of
GNMAA and the Lights Festival. Here is a photo with Past Chairman Camille Julmy,
42nd Ward Alderman Burt Natarus, me, GNMAA Chairman Basil Kromelow, and Past
Lights Chairman and owner of Harry Caray’s, Grant Deporter and a photo of our
guest of honor, Mickey Mouse.