A tradition started when I was very young. My aunt took me and my cousins to downtown Chicago for a weekend during the holiday season. I grew up in Northwest Indiana and to go "into the city" was a treat. It was exciting. In fact, to do so during the holiday's was even more a thrill because there was always so much going on. For the next few years, this tradition blossomed and I began to take my own family to downtown Chicago during the holiday season.
It's been about 15 years since I first began attending the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival. No matter where I lived (Baltimore or Texas), I found a way to make it to Chicago for this amazing weekend festival. The parade is the the big kick-off. In fact, it draws close to one million people each year. The crowds are so thick, you have to get there early just to get a good spot to see the parade.
The Disney characters have a special place in my heart and since they are a part of the festival, this makes it even more important for me to attend. For the last 4-5 years, I have been organizing a group of Southwest volunteers to show their Fun-LUVing attitude and Warrior Spirit and "adopt-a-block" in front of a Million People for this parade. If I don't get a chance to spend the holiday in Disneyworld, why not bring Disneyworld here to Chicago! That's exactly what happens during the weekend. Mickey and all his friends are here to "light the lights" on Michigan Avenue. With a wave of his hand, the lights come on block-by-block like magic. It's the most exhilirating thing! Not to mention our Southwest volunteers have had the loudest, liveliest and craziest block's on the "Mag Mile" than anyone else!
It doesn't stop there - this is a WEEKEND festival, so I normally book myself a hotel room for me and my family. We make a weekend out of it. Here are some things my family and I like to do when we are in town for the Holiday:
- Check out the decorated windows at the historical Marshall Fields (now Macy's);
- Have lunch around the largest Christmas Tree at the Walnut Room;
- Go ice skating at one of two different rinks downtown;
- Stop in the many hotel lobbies to enjoy some hot cocoa;
- Begin some early Christmas shopping at some unique and upscale stores;
- Take a family carriage ride on the lakefront at night;
- Visit the Toy Fair at Navy Pier;
- Do some shopping and eating at the German Market at Daley Plaza (Christkindlmart);
- Visit the Trees Around the World exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry;
- Check out the show, "A Christmas Carol" at the Goodman Theatre (no relation);
- And - don't forget to see the fireworks at the end of the Lights Festival Parade!
When I heard that Southwest was going to be a sponsor again I was "all in" and just couldn't wait to share the news. Some of the fun things our fantastic Company will be doing in 2012 is:
As the Official Airline of the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival we will:
- Provide a unique photo capturing opportunity of iconic Michigan Ave holiday scenes at our booth with our FUN green screen for our Customers attending Pioneer Court Lane.
- Our fantastic Flight Brigade will “march” in the parade, the Flight Brigade is made of up of SWA Employees from across the system.
- Local MDW Employees escorting a super-size Rudolph helium balloon down Michigan Ave during the lights parade.
I am looking forward to once again showing the people of Chicago and the visitors from all over the World that our Employee's have the MOST FUN and know how to OWN THE HOLIDAYS.