Magnificent Mile parade lights up holiday season


Maggie O'Donnell, Features Editor

To kick off the holidays, Chicago’s BMO Harris Bank hosted its annual Magnificent Mile Lights Festival from Nov. 16 to Nov. 17. The festival included its grand Tree-Lighting Parade down North Michigan Avenue, which is led by Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse from the Walt Disney World Resorts Florida. As Mickey and Minnie headed down North Michigan Avenue, the lights on the trees were lighted, signifying the beginning of the holiday season.

“The parade was really fun. I had a good time seeing all the different floats and balloons and spending time with my girlfriend and her family. It was a good way to kick off the holiday season,” Logan Kvien*, senior, said.

Performers from all over the Chicagoland area came to perform in the parade from high school bands to dance casts. The parade also featured floats and plus-sized helium balloons as well as Disney characters and more.

Looking down North Michigan Avenue as the start of the parade came closer, herds of people could be seen surrounding the parade route.

“I couldn’t really see anything since I’m short, and it was packed, but there was cool lights and characters,” Gloria Reyes, junior, said.

With the temperature being between 20 and 30 degrees outside, people were trying to find many ways to stay warm by going to nearby stores or drinking hot chocolate.

“If you wanted a good spot, you had to get there two hours before it started, so I went in to some stores to kill time and get out of the freezing weather,” Erika Bugaring, senior, said.

Although the parade was packed, kids could be seen smiling from ear to ear as floats and plus-sized helium balloons passed. Waving to float riders as they moved down North Michigan Avenue and trying to get the attention of someone giving away free stuff resulted in loud cheers from the crowd.

“I saw a lot of happy faces, not just from kids, but from people of all ages. It was cool to see everyone smiling and cheering and just having a good time,” Kvien said.

To bring the parade to an end, a man in a big red suit with the name of Santa Claus was welcomed by screaming children, all fighting to get his attention by waving vigorously and yelling his name.