CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s a big sign this holiday season will finally be close to normal: The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival returned.
It was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year is the 30th anniversary of the festival, and it comes at a critical time for stores that hope to rebound.READ MORE: Chicago Police Officer Shot, Wounded In Calumet Heights; One Suspect Also Shot
The holiday spark is back back after a year hiatus with no shortage of dazzled eyes and excitement.
“You can tell people have been kind of stuck from the pandemic and wanted to get out, so it was a mass crowd,” said tourist Nikesha Willoughpy.
Mickey and Minnie Mouse were at the helm of the grand parade for the 30th Annual Magnificent Mile Lights festival. Music and performers, especially Kool and the Gang, made Nikesha happy.
“We heard ‘Get down on it! Get Down on it,'” she said.READ MORE: Massive Fire Destroys Home In Kildeer; Holiday Decorations Believed To Be To Blame
She and her nephew walked away with the end fireworks as the standout event.
“I liked the colors,” he said.
Shop owners along the Mag Mile are taking a step back to normalcy after a tough year during the pandemic.
This annual event meant excited tourists and locals alike getting to shop and support businesses.
This year, Gov. JB Pritzker even approved a $400,000 grant to keep the 1 million lights shining.MORE NEWS: Jussie Smollett Trial: Abel Osundairo, One Of Two Brothers Who Said He Was Paid To Help Stage Attack, Says Smollett 'Wanted Me To Fake Beat Him Up'
It’s estimated this one event brings in $26 million in local business sales, supporting 16,000 jobs and raising about $1 million in local taxes.