At the head of the … well … PARADE of free things to enjoy during the Christmas season are these festive events which involve marching bands and cheering crowds. Among those things you don’t have to take out a second mortgage to enjoy are the dazzling Christmas parades which are being planned even now as I write this. Chicago has always been known for it festive marching celebrations and this year will be no exception.
November 21st, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
A Chicago tradition of more than 40 years, the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival is the opening shot for holiday shopping and festive sight-seeing. Thousands of people will be on hand to watch towards the end of the day as the holiday lights are all turned on by a master switch. Hopefully, some of the spectators will shop ’til they drop either before or after the parade but remember it doesn’t cost anything just to look and window-shopping (combined with grabbing a snack here and there) has always been a treat on Michigan Avenue .
November 21st, 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival continues with a parade which begins at North Michigan Avenue and Oak Street, and ends at North Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive, to be followed by a fireworks display over the Chicago River. (For further details about Mag Mile Lights, go to http://Chicago.about.com.
November 26th, 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.
People will probably come from miles around and other states to salute the McDonald’s 76th Anniversary Thanksgiving Parade (the famous State Street Christmas Parade) as it steps off in style down State Street from Congress Parkway to Randolph Street. The parade will include marching bands, floats, giant helium balloons, and horses, plus local celebrities broadcasting the event for WGN Television.
As we used to say back in the Fifties: “Be there or be square!” For further details, phone 312-235-2217.
December 4th, 7 p.m.
Everyone is invited to be on hand when for the triumphant arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus as they arrive by boat at Navy Pier where they will be welcomed at the Grand Staircase by the Mayor of Winter Wonderfest and other Christmasy folk. Dazzling fireworks will be included in this event which will serve as the opening shot for the holiday lights and the Christmas season at Navy Pier.
Neighborhood and Suburban Events
A lot of smaller towns and metro neighborhoods will be celebrating the kick-off of the Christmas season with their own Christmas parades and festivals, too numerous to list here. Santa — that champion globetrotter — will be arriving at a lot of locations and via many modes of transportation. For more details about these local events, check your local papers or do an Internet search for Christmas parades and events in your own town.
A Last Word of Advice
If you are planning to attend Christmas holiday parades, dress warmly and wear comfortable shoes!