Starting in 1958, the merchants of the Magnificent Mile began to light their trees for the holidays. In the early days, there was a small ceremony at Water Tower Park but then the lights were just turned on without ceremony on the Monday before Thanksgiving.
On Saturday, November 21st, Marc Schulman was the founding chairman as the Greater North Michigan Avenue Association created an event to light the trees. What started as a small event with horse drawn carriages has
grown over the past 15 years into one of the premiere holiday events in the country.
Come to Chicago on Saturday, November 18th this year for the 15th Annual Magnificent Mile Lights Festival. If you can’t come down, watch the event on WGN locally and on the superstation. The television shows is live at
6pm cst and features WGN personalties, Steve Sanders, Allison Payne, Tom Skilling and Paul Konrad. Marc Schulman will be joining them for part of the procession to share the committment of the over 550 volunteers who work on this event year round on behalf of the Greater North Michigan Avenue Association.
The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival is presented this year for the first time by Harris , which is one of the largest financial services organizations in Chicago.
Be sure to visit Eli’s at the WinterWalk for free cheesecake decorating with the assistance of students from the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences.. Eli’s will also be partnering again with the Greater Chicago Food Depository to collect non-perishable food donations and to offer cheesecakes as gifts for those who donate $10 or more to the Food Depository.
It has become an annual tradition for Mickey Mouse to light the lights of Michigan Avenue. Mickey was in town to test the lights and Marc Schulman greeted him at the historic Water Tower.
A new addition to the procession is Hubert the Harris Lion, who is the mascot for Harris, the presenting sponsor of the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival. Above Marc Schulman takes a picture with Hubert, John Maxson, CEO of
the Greater North Michigan Avenue Association, and John Curran, immediate past chairman of the Lights Festival and Vice President of Charter Sales for Chicago Trolley.
The success of the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival is due to the tremendous number of volunteers, a great staff and incredible support from the City of Chicago. Above, sprucing up Water Tower Park are Derek DeBoer, the Midwest Marketing Manager for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and Ellen Farrar, the Vice President of Marketing & ommunications for the Greater North Michigan Avenue Association.