THE BMO HARRIS BANK MAGNIFICENT MILE LIGHTS FESTIVAL OFFERS A SHOW-STOPPING START TO THE 2012 HOLIDAY SEASON

Chicago’s Magnificent Mile kicks off the holidays for millions with musical performances from top artists, beloved characters from Walt Disney World® Resort in Florida, family-friendly activities and a weekend of special holiday offers

 

CHICAGO – More than one million people will travel to Chicago’s Magnificent Mile to begin their holidays during the 21st annual BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival on Saturday, November 17, 2012. Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse from the Walt Disney World® Resort in Florida will lead a magical evening lighting parade down The Magnificent Mile, illuminating more than one million lights on 200 trees along North Michigan Avenue.

The beloved holiday tradition signals the beginning of the season for the nation with an action-packed weekend throughout The Magnificent Mile district. On November 17, North Michigan Avenue is the setting for a host of holiday fun. Starting at 11 am, families are invited to enjoy holiday-themed activities in Lights Festival Lane (Pioneer Court, 401 N. Michigan Avenue) featuring booths from Chicago’s finest including John Hancock Observatory, Garrett Popcorn Shops, The Eli’s Cheesecake Company, BMO Harris Bank and more. Radio Disney AM 1300 Chicago will be on-site hosting a family-friendly concert featuring Olivia Holt, star of Disney XD’s hit series “Kickin’ It” and the Disney Channel Original Movie “Girl Vs. Monster,” who will open for singer-songwriter Shane Harper, star of Disney Channel’s Emmy Award-nominated “Good Luck Charlie.” Other top musical performers scheduled to take the BMO Harris Bank Stage during the afternoon’s live concert line-up include Colton Dixon, American Idol Season 11 finalist; R5, the fastest-rising band on the pop-rock scene; and Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players, the Grammy-nominated family music group.

The day’s activities lead up to the much-anticipated lighting parade, the country’s largest evening holiday celebration, beginning at 5:30 pm. Grand marshals Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse will appear together for the third year in a row on an awe-inspiring new float as they lead more than 40 magnificent floats, helium-filled balloons, classic characters from the Walt Disney World® Resort, lively marching bands from across the country and musical performances from top artists including Bella Thorne, star of Disney Channel’s “Shake It Up.”

Audiences can expect crowd favorites to return such as Santa Claus soaring above the crowds on the John Hancock Observatory float, the larger-than-life Hubert the Lion balloon from BMO Harris Bank, the world-famous scent of Garrett Popcorn Shop’s popcorn infused down the procession route from the shop’s float and popular Chicago sports stars aboard the Harry Caray’s Restaurant Group float. Exciting new additions include a float made entirely of candy from Candyality, Chicago’s sweetest destination, a Holiday Magic float from Brookfield Zoo and more. Radio Disney AM 1300 will also join in on the fun as Holt performs aboard the “Your Music, Your Way” float.

The BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival draws to a grand conclusion with a spectacular fireworks display over the Chicago River created from more than 10,000 handmade fireworks shells from Lumina.

The nationally-televised event will be broadcast live on Saturday, November 17 from 6 pm – 7 pm CST in local markets on ABC7 Chicago and in more than 65 markets around the country throughout the holiday season. Broadcast times available in local listings.

Trailing along down Michigan Avenue throughout the day, big blue lion paw prints will once again lead the way for families to take part in “Hubert’s Adventure,” a scavenger hunt based off BMO Harris Bank’s “Helpful Steps for Parents” program — a 24/7, free online community that gives parents access to age-appropriate games, tools and blogs developed by leading family and financial experts to teach smart money skills. By visiting the three main interactive stops along The Magnificent Mile, kids will learn about Saving, Spending, and Sharing, and perhaps even meet Hubert the Lion himself. Kids can also test their knowledge at the life-size board game located at the Hancock building. Families are invited to visit Pioneer Court to see BMO Harris’ life-sized Lego Hubert, spin the “Wheel of Fun” to collect prizes, make holiday giving and wish lists and take photos with the bank’s beloved mascot.

Special holiday offers and events from area shops, restaurants, hotels and attractions continue throughout the holiday season. For a complete list of offers and activities, visit themagnificentmile.com or follow The Magnificent Mile on Facebook, Twitter and foursquare.

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About The Magnificent Mile®
The Magnificent Mile® is Chicago’s premier destination, offering more than 3.3 million square feet of retail space, 460 stores, 275 restaurants, 23,000 hotel rooms in 60 hotels, unique museums and entertaining attractions to more than 20 million visitors each year. The Magnificent Mile district features world-renowned shopping, dining and hotel accommodations, internationally-recognized events and exceptional urban landscaping with more than 52 unique parkway gardens that reflect the changing seasons and complement the unique architectural beauty of Chicago. For more information, visit themagnificentmile.com or follow The Magnificent Mile on Facebook, Twitter and foursquare.

About BMO Harris Bank
Based in Chicago, BMO Harris Bank N.A. provides a broad range of personal banking products and solutions through over 600 branches and approximately 1,300 ATMs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Nevada, Arizona and Florida. BMO Harris Bank’s commercial banking team provides a combination of sector expertise, local knowledge and mid-market focus throughout the U.S. Deposit and loan products and services provided by BMO Harris Bank N.A. Member FDIC. BMO Harris BankSM is a trade name used by BMO Harris Bank N.A. BMO Harris Bank is part of BMO Financial Group, a North American financial organization with 1,600 branches, and a retail deposit base of approximately $180 billion.

About Walt Disney World Resort
Walt Disney World Resort is a contiguous, nearly 40-square-mile, world-class entertainment and recreation center featuring four theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom); two water adventure parks (Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon); 35 resort hotels (25 owned and operated by Walt Disney World, includes seven Disney Vacation Club resort properties); 81 holes of golf on five courses; two full-service spas; Disney’s Wedding Pavilion; ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex; and Downtown Disney, an entertainment-shopping-dining complex. Walt Disney World Resort is also included in vacation packages of Disney Cruise Line. Located at LakeBuena Vista, Fla., 20 miles southwest of Orlando, Walt Disney World Resort opened Oct. 1, 1971. Open daily, year-round.

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Katie Fanella, The Greater North Michigan Avenue Association
Office: (312) 344-2336
Cell: (773) 330-2776
kfanella@gnmaa.com

Kelly Wisecarver, Wisecarver PR
Office: (773) 338-2477
Cell: (773) 218-7285
kelly@wisecarverpr.com

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