A Guide to Chicago's Magnificent Mile Lights Festival 2010 on Show Me Chicago.

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A Guide to the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival.

One million people are expected to be on hand for this year’s Magnificent Mile Lights Festival on Saturday, November 20.  The activities kick-off at 11a.m and continue throughout the day and evening culminating with a spectacular fireworks display.  Show Me Chicago’s guide will help you navigate the day so you don’t miss a thing.  

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11a.m. to 5p.m. Lights Festival Lane.
Pioneer Court. Admission Free.
401 N. Michigan Ave. at the Tribune Tower and the Chicago River.
The Court will be decked out in its holiday finest.  North Pole-like directional signs will light the way through the maze of visitor activities.  

Highlights include:
Vendor booths.
Shedd Aquarium’s interactive kid station.
Whole Food’s marshmallow snowman and gingerbread house decorating.
Harris Bank’s prize wheel plus a larger-than-life “Hubert” made out of LEGOS.
A photo booth with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

11a.m. to 3:45p.m. Live Musical performances on the Harris stage. 
Pioneer Court, 401 N. Michigan Ave.
11a.m. Choo-Choo Soul with Geneieve.
12p.m. Justin Roberts.
1:15p.m. Radio Disney Road Crew.
2p.m. Allstar Weekend presented by Radio Disney.
3p.m. Crystal Bowersox.
Plus: The Not Ready for Naptime Players and The Radio Disney Road Crew.

5:30p.m. The Parade and Light Procession.
More than 30 spectacular floats, marching bands, giant holiday-themed balloons, celebrity

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guests and Disney Characters will be lead by the parade’s co-grand marshals, Mickey and Minnie Mouse who will illuminate more than one million lights on 200 trees along the route.  Expect to see Puff the Magic Dragon, a holiday train, a variety of performers on floats including KT Tunstall, American Idol’s Crystal Bowersox, Siobhan Magnus and Wilson and, of course, Santa.  

The Procession Route
Michigan Avenue between Oak Street and the Chicago River.
Parade Viewing Tips.
Michigan Avenue is less crowded on the east side
of the street at the north end of the procession.  PLEASE NOTE:  The
DuSable Bridge (formerly the Michigan Avenue Bridge) will be  closed at
4p.m. so if you want to view the lighting procession, make sure you get
to the north side of the bridge before that time.

6:55p.m. The Fireworks.
The Chicago River at Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive.    

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 Fireworks Viewing Tips.
PLEASE NOTE:  The DuSable Bridge (formerly the Michigan Avenue Bridge) will be  closed at 4p.m. so if you want to view the fireworks from the south side of the bridge on Wacker make sure you cross the bridge before 4p.m. Best viewing spots for the Fireworks are from Pioneer Court or along Wacker Drive.

Don’t Miss.
The LED Holiday Tree at the John Hancock Center.
Santa’s reindeer at the Trump Riverwalk, 3 to 8p.m.
Santa accompanied by his fleet of reindeer zooming over the John Hancock Observatory.
Special deals on twitter at www.twitter.com/TheMagMile

Kid Friendly Stores.
If you want to try to get in some shopping with the kids the following stores should be fun for all.
    •    American Girl Place, 835 N. Michigan Avenue
    •    The LEGO Store, 520 N. Michigan Avenue at The Shops at North Bridge
    •    Galt Toys, 900 N. Michigan Avenue at The 900 Shops
    •    The Hello Kitty Store, 520 N. Michigan Avenue at The Shops at North Bridge
    •    The Hershey Store, 822 N. Michigan Avenue
    •    The Disney Store, 717 N. Michigan Avenue

Extended Shopping Hours.
Most stores along the Magnificent Mile will remain open until 10p.m. on Saturday, November 20.

Getting There.

Public Transportation.
As always, public transportation is recommended.  Visitors taking the Metra may enjoy a trip on a water taxi that can be taken from the Metra station and the Chicago River at Madison St. to the DuSable Bridge (formerly Michigan Ave. Bridge).

Driving. 
If you drive plan to arrive early to get a parking spot at  John Hancock Center or Water Tower Place at Michigan and Chicago Avenue (800 North) and expect to pay upwards of $30.

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Festival History.

The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival started small in 1949 when a 67-foot Christmas Tree was decorated with 1,500 lights and placed in Water Tower Park. It grew a little bigger each year until today’s extravaganza featuring a full day of events lead by Mickey Mouse, Minnie and friends

Television presence.
For those who are unable to join the fun on the Mag Mile, they can watch The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival on ABC 7 Chicago from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.

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