CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago was set late Friday to kick off 2022 with what is being billed as the biggest fireworks show the city has ever seen.

As CBS 2’s Asal Rezaei reported, the Chicago River and lakefront were set to be packed with people for the occasion. John Murray is in charge of the almost two-mile-long fireworks show that will go off right as the clock strikes midnight.

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“It’s about celebrating. It’s about getting this awful year behind us, and looking forward to 2022 – but it’s all welcoming the city back and welcoming all the people back and enjoy it,” Murray said.

The fireworks, the music, and the colors are all carefully synchronized.

“There’s over 5,000 pounds of fireworks and equipment, and there’s over 8,000 individual fire effects that are going to happen just on the river alone,” Murray said.

The fireworks show at Navy Pier will go on for five extra minutes after the one on the river is over. That is where Nick Cervone plans to be at midnight.

“I’m excited,” Cervone said. “I think it’s been weird the past month with things getting bad with COVID again, but the fact that people are kind of in agreement that they want to be out they want to do something – but everyone wants to be safe and still enjoy it.”

Vanessa Santellano and Jon Jennings came from California.

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“We’re here to have a good time, big city, Chicago, we’re excited!” Santellano said.

They said they feel safe celebrating the New Year outside.

“Outdoors is completely our style right now,” Jennings said.

It is a style that many are considering very “in” right now – especially while celebrating one of the biggest holidays of the year while COVID-19 continues to spread.

“The fact that we can spread people out over almost two miles of space makes it so much better – and they’re outside, right?” Murray said. “So we encourage people, if they’re not vaccinated, to still wear a mask even though they’re outside.”

And for the most part, we saw people following health guidelines we have heard from city leaders. A lot of people were masked up even while outside as they walked around downtown.

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All the Chicago River bridges – along with streets from Orleans Street to the lakefront – were to begin closing at 11 p.m. as the city got ready to ring in the New Year.