Illuminating Milwaukee joyously and safely -- annual 'Holiday Lights Festival' kicks off Thursday

NOW: Illuminating Milwaukee joyously and safely -- annual ’Holiday Lights Festival’ kicks off Thursday

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – Milwaukee’s downtown will shine brightly Nov. 19 – Jan. 1 as more than 500,000 lights and dozens of animated displays are set aglow for the 22nd annual Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival – a “snowcially-distanced” celebration.

 The annual display of lights, coordinated by Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21, will transform three downtown parks into winter wonderland scenes – “Community Spirit Park” at Cathedral Square Park, “Tinsel Town Express” at Pere Marquette Park and “Polar Plaza powered by We Energies” at Zeidler Union Square – as well as illuminate three downtown thoroughfares, including an 18-block stretch of lights along Wisconsin Avenue. 

In another break with tradition, the festival’s Jingle Bus service will also look slightly differently. Pivoting from a warming house and motor coach tour, guests can experience this year’s lighting displays through a virtual or self-guided audio tour of downtown’s most brilliant scenes. The interactive map and audio tour can be accessed here beginning in mid-November.

 Among the new attractions for motorists and pedestrians will be window displays designed by Retailworks Inc. Featuring the likenesses of 25+ well-known Milwaukeeans, the four decorated storefronts can be found at 324 E. Wisconsin Ave., 205 E. Wisconsin Ave., 400 E. Wisconsin Ave. and 733-737 N. Milwaukee St. beginning in early November.

 Another new highlight of the fest will be grab-and-go gift boxes curated by Milwaukee Food & City Tours. In a new partnership with Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21, Milwaukee Food & City Tours will make Jingle Joy Boxes available for purchase in a socially-distanced drive-through at Zeidler Union Square from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Thursdays through Saturdays, Dec. 3 – 19.Jingle Joy Boxes will be $15/each and feature goodies from local businesses.

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