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Magnificent Mile Lights Festival Kicks Off Holiday Season

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Mickey and Minnie Mouse ride a Magic Kingdom-themed parade float in the 2011 Magnificent Mile Lights Festival parade. (Credit: CBS)

Mickey and Minnie Mouse ride a Magic Kingdom-themed parade float in the 2011 Magnificent Mile Lights Festival parade. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Saturday night, there were e a lot of smiles and excitement as Magnificent Mile lit up.

More than a million people were expected downtown for the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival.

The festivities kicked off at 11 a.m. on Michigan Ave., in front of the Tribune Tower.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Brandis Friedman Reports

Mickey and Minnie Mouse served as the grand marshals of this evening’s parade, which featured live performances.

Spectators saw more than 40 floats, larger than life balloons, marching bands, and a number of popular Disney characters.

“It’s really become a tradition for people. It’s the 21st year and you know, we’ve got over a million people that come to the Avenue to see Mickey and Minnie Mouse light the lights on Michigan Avenue,” said Joel Morales, Marketing Representative for the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival.

Fireworks served as the grand finale, over the Chicago River.

Of course, it wouldn’t be the holiday season without stores offering extended hours, special discounts and freebies this weekend.

“Everything from hot chocolate… some restaurants are actually roasting nuts in ovens outside, so there’s definitely something to take advantage of,” says Morales.

 

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