November 23, 2012 by James
On Saturday, November 17, Chicago and its suburbs, including Lyons, kick-started the festive season in style with the 21st annual Magnificent Mile Lights Festival. It drew huge crowds, with more than one million people traveling downtown to join in the fun.
The festivities started with the Tree Lighting Parade, which began at 5:30 pm at Oak Street and Michigan Avenue and then traveled south down Michigan towards Wacker Drive.
The grand marshals for the parade were Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, and more than 40 floats took part, including one made entirely of candy. Other entertainment included live music on a stage next to the Chicago River, and a 7:00 pm fireworks display that lit up the night.
Michigan Avenue is world-famous for its high-end shops and stores, and they added to the fun with special offers, bargains, and chances to win merchandise. For instance, Eddie Bauer offered a 30% discount to shoppers who came in on the day of the Festival.
In order to accommodate the expected crowds, the police shut down North Michigan Avenue on Saturday afternoon and evening, starting at approximately 4:00 pm, and suggested that Festival attendees use public transportation to get to the ‘Magnificent Mile’ – a nickname for Michigan Avenue’s trendiest stretch. The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) added extra trains and buses to its schedule to handle the increase in riders.
Shops on Michigan Avenue might consider printing flyers describing special offers as people get ready for Christmas, while the CTA could print brochures showing special schedules for its trains and buses.