For 106 years the lighting of the "Great Tree" has signaled the holiday season in Chicago. The tradition continues at Macy's State Street store (111 N. State Street) tomorrow, November 2 with a day of holiday related events and activities surrounding the lighting of the "Great Tree."
The hallowed tradition started in an era much different than today. Horse-drawn vehicles were de rigueur during those times when a certain magic penetrated the icy winter air. Legions of families would put on their Sunday best and head to Marshall Field's on State Street where they would expectantly stand in line for however long it took to get a table in the Walnut Room under the magnificent live tree that was lighted by spotlights and protected by on-site firemen 24 hours a day (now the Great Tree is artificial and has been for decades).
Parents brought their children, the children grew-up and brought their children, grandparents and even great-grandparents all became part of the party that grew larger each year.
When Macy's took over Marshall Field's in 2006, they knew better than to mess with the hallowed tradition. Instead, instead they embraced it and added even more days to its stay.
This year's "Great Tree" lighting ceremony will take place tomorrow at noon in the Walnut Room (the tree will remain through Jan. 5, 2014). Nick Cannon, a multi-faceted entertainer in film, comedy, TV, radio, will "light" the Great Tree joined by Lauren Alaina, American Idol Season 10 runner-up, singing two holiday songs.
Following the Great Tree lighting, there's family fun with face painting, balloon twisting, a visit from Radio Disney and more in the Kid's department on the 5th floor.
Macy's unveils their Holiday Windows at 9 a.m. Saturday. This year's windows are decked out in holiday cheer showcasing "The Magic of Christmas" looking back at memories from the past 100 years during the Marshall Field era with displays including an animated replica of the Frango mint factory.
SantaLand opens for requests at 10 a.m. Saturday with Santa available for visits and pictures weekends until Thanksgiving, then daily through December 24.
No reservations will be accepted for dining in the Walnut Room from November 1 through January 1, 2014. Pagers for same day seating are available at store opening and can be picked up on the 7th floor near the main escalators. The Walnut Room will add a breakfast buffet beginning November 23 and everyday through December 26 (except Nov. 24-25 and Thanksgiving and Christmas days).
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