Chicagoland Gears Up for the Holiday Season

November 18, 2011

It’s not quite Thanksgiving, but it will feel like Christmas in Chicago on Saturday during the 20th annual Magnificent Mile Lights Festival and Parade on Michigan Avenue.

More than one million lights on 200 trees along the Magnificent Mile will be lit from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on North Michigan Avenue from Wacker Drive to Oak Street in what is considered to be the nation’s largest evening holiday event.

The lighting procession will be led by Mickey and Minnie Mouse and followed by a bunch of Disney friends, more than 30 floats, giant balloons, marching bands, celebrities, musical performers and Santa Claus.

A fireworks display over the Chicago River will end the festivities, and then you can stay and shop, as most stores will be open until 10 p.m.

For more information, including the holiday activity schedule, visit

Want more holiday events to get you in the spirit of the season? Here are some other things going on around Chicagoland this weekend.

*Randolph Street Holiday Market: Find a unique mix of antique, vintage and modern goods at Plumbers Hall, 1340 W. Washington in Chicago on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 19-20 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event offers free furniture delivery within downtown Chicago, free parking and free gift wrapping. Tickets are $8 online and $10 at the door; kids under 12 are free.

*The DIY Trunk Show: The best of the Chicago area’s alternative craft community will set up shop at Broadway Armory Park, 5917 N. Broadway St. in Chicago on Saturday, Nov. 19 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. More than 129 vendors will sell their handmade arts and crafts in the ninth annual Chicago Craft Mafia event, and there will be a kids crafting area from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is free, and the first 150 shoppers get a free goody bag.

*Gazebo Holiday Market: The Junior League of Chicago is hosting this 40th annual fair at the Chicago Cultural Center, 77 E. Randolph St. at Michigan Ave. in the Yates Gallery on the fourth floor on Saturday, Nov. 19 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Proceeds and a portion of all merchant sales benefit the Junior League of Chicago mission.

*Pottery & Jewelry Show: Find one-of-a-kind holiday artistry by the students at Berger Park Cultural Center, 6205 N. Sheridan Rd., Chicago on Saturday, Nov. 19 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This is a Chicago Park District Arts Expo, which celebrates the work of teens youth and adults in the parks.

*Wilmette Holiday Parade: This Wilmette Chamber of Commerce Parade will start at 10:30 a.m. in the CTA parking lot at Fourth and Linden and go west on Central Ave. to the Village Center at Wilmette Ave., where you can take a picture with Santa. Residents are encouraged to decorate their cars and bicycles and join in the parade.

*Holiday Demonstration Weekend: The Chalet Nursery in Wilmette is hosting workshops all weekend long that will help you and your home get in the holiday mood. You can learn about outdoor winter containers, the best holiday plants, gift ideas and quick and easy decorating tips for your home. The workshops run on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 19-20 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Click the link for the complete schedule or call (847) 256-0561.

*Cornucopia Gift Fair: The Woman’s Club of Evanston is hosting this event at 1702 Chicago Ave., Evanston, where close to 60 local and regional artists will sell their wares. All proceeds benefit Evanston and local not-for-profit organizations. Hours are Friday, Nov. 18 from 5 to 9 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 19, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 20, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $6; $15 for a multi-day pass. Tickets can be purchased at the door.

*Chicago Toy and Game Fair: Find out what your kids want for the holidays before it hits store shelves at Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago, on Saturday, Nov. 19 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 20 from 10 5 p.m. Admission is $10; $5 for kids 4-13; free for those three and under.

Have a festive weekend!

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