Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival starts on Thursday

The Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival begins Thursday, giving families a variety of locations and events to join in on the spirit of the season.

This is the 17th year for the event organized by the Milwaukee Downtown, Business Improvement District #21 will run November 19th through December 27th.

It begins Thursday with a switch-flipping ceremony at 6 p.m. in Pere Marquette Park, 900 N. Plankinton Ave.

An estimated 5,000 people visit the celebration each year which features musical performances, warm holiday treats, Santa and a dazzling fireworks show to round out the evening.

Performers in the Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival Kick-Off Extravaganza include country singer, Nora Collins; Anita’s Dance Center; Chandelier Circus; DJ Shawna; Visual Artsz; Studio VIA; and, the show’s guest of honor, Santa Claus.

The show will begin at 6 p.m. The official switch-flipping will take place at approximately 6:35 p.m., which will simultaneously light the holiday décor in Pere Marquette Park, Cathedral Square Park and Zeidler Union Square, as well as downtown’s street-level decorations.

The kick-off celebration will conclude with fireworks synchronized to holiday music and free Jingle Bus rides presented by Meijer operating from Pere Marquette Park, taking guests past all the newly lit scenes. 

Brightly captivating scenes will include chandeliers suspended above Wisconsin Avenue, plus “Holiday Palace Park” at Pere Marquette Park, “Community Spirit Park” at Cathedral Square Park and “Toy Chest Park” at Zeidler Union Square.

After opening night, Jingle Bus rides presented by Meijer will operate from 6 p.m. to 8:20 p.m., Thursdays through Sundays, November 20 – December 27.

The 40-minute tour is narrated by Milwaukee Downtown’s Public Service Ambassadors. Rides are $1 per person and depart from The Shops of Grand Avenue – Center Court, 275 W. Wisconsin Ave.

Beth Weirick from the Downtown Milwaukee Group was a special live guest Monday on the CBS 58 News at 4 p.m.

Her interview with other fun filled details is attached to this story.

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