Illuminate 900: A new, magical holiday party at The 900 North Michigan Shops

For the first annual tree lighting ceremony, Illuminate 900, the 900 North Michigan Shops planned an arts-forward, community-wide kick-off to the holiday season and delivered a magical celebration for all 1000 guests in attendance. On Thursday, November 17, a robust line-up of holiday performances thrilled the crowd throughout the evening. The highlight being Santa's arrival to light the 50 foot-tall tree, which was heralded by the Chicago Children's Choir singing, "Here Comes Santa Claus." Once in front of the tree, standing with a Make-A-Wish child and the evening's celebrated host committee, Santa led the countdown to light the tree. As soon as the tree was lit, four cannons shot off colorful streamers into the open atrium delighting adults and children of all ages.

"Illuminate 900 was our holiday love letter to Chicago," said Stacy Kolios, marketing director, 900 North Michigan Shops. "In the true spirit of the season, generosity of self and spirit, we were thrilled to create a moment in time that welcomes friends and families from throughout Chicago to come together and celebrate the magic and wonder of the holidays."

Event highlights included performances by Forward Momentum (whose young dancers performed "All I Want for Christmas is You"); Ruth Page Center for the Arts (whose dancers performed an excerpt from the holiday classic, "The Nutcracker"); Chicago vocalist Ava Fain (who sang a sultry rendition of "Santa Baby"); Piano Forte; New Music School and the Chicago Academy for The Arts that surprised guests with a flash rendition of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town."

A raffle featured prizes from various 900 Shops retailers as well as a grand prize courtesy of Chicago Helicopter Experience--the chance to fly with Santa in his new sleigh! Sur La Table provided sugar cookie decorating and King Cafe served hot chocolate and coffee. A Cava Bar, provided courtesy of The Geraghty and Kehoe Designs, helped bring the holiday dreamscape to life. Six handsome male models (from 10 Mgmt) dressed as Toy Soldiers completed the holiday tableau.

I was proud to be serve as mistress of ceremonies for this grand night that included a stellar host committee--Graham Kostic, David Murga, Trevor Heffernon, Tom Kehoe, Joe Perillo, Corri McFadden, Jessica Zweig Fisher, Ana Belaval, David Sanchez, Pierre Lockett, Nina Mariano, Julie Barrish and D'Rita Robinson.

All proceeds from the evening benefited Make-A-Wish Illinois. The spirit of Christmas is alive and well at The 900 North Michigan Shops! Ho! Ho! Ho! Go see for yourself!

You can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, my award-winning internet show, "Candid Candace TV ", my blog, CandidCandace.com and, of course, every Sunday in the Chicago Tribune (Candid Candace in Life & Style)  Thank you!

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