Press Release

November 1, 2022

Media relations
Jayme Nicholas
(312) 750-7254
Fonda Berosini
Disney Entertainment, Networks
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Lights! Music! Magic! ABC 7 Chicago Kicks Off the Holiday Season Nationwide With the Broadcast of the Wintrust Magnificent Mile Lights Festival Hosted by Cheryl Burton and Alan Krashesky Sunday, November 20 at 6:00 PM

Featuring Grand Marshals Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mousefrom Walt Disney World® Resort; Special Performances Including One of the Top Female Groups of All Time, The Pointer Sisters; R&B vocal favorites, The Spinners, American Singer-Songwriter Debbie Gibson, and the go to dance band, C&C Music Factory.

2021 Lights Festival with Alan Krashesky and Cheryl Burton

The magic of the holidays, Chicago style, is captured for viewers around the country with musical performances, beloved Walt Disney World characters, and dazzling fireworks, as more than a million twinkling Michigan Avenue lights set the stage for the broadcast of the spectacular Wintrust Magnificent Mile Lights Festival, Sunday, November 20 from 6-7:00 P.M. on ABC 7 Chicago. Encore broadcasts will air Saturday, December 10, from 11 A.M.-Noon and Christmas Eve from 4-5 P.M. on ABC 7.

ABC 7 Eyewitness News Anchors Cheryl Burton and Alan Krashesky will serve as co-hosts of the broadcastwith ABC 7’s Tracy Butler and Hosea Sanders capturing the magic from the street for viewers at home.

The Wintrust Magnificent Mile Lights Festival parade will be available on demand and stream exclusively on and ABC 7’s Connected TV Apps on Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV and Roku.

The hour-long special, showcasing the country’s largest evening holiday parade celebration, will showcase a performance by one of the country’s all-time, top female groups, The Pointer Sisters, sparking everyone’s excitement when they perform their hit single, “I’m so Excited.” American rhythm and blues vocal favorites, The Spinners, will also perform, making it a night to remember. American singer-songwriter Debbie Gibson will perform songs from her eleventh studio album, Winterlicious, and C&C Music Factory will perform the song that always signals a good time, “Everybody Dance Now!” on the Enjoy Illinois float.

In addition, Phillip Mkhize will perform “The Circle of Life,” from Broadway in Chicago’s The Lion King, now at the Cadillac Palace.  The cast of Wicked, and Lookingglass Theater’s The Steadfast Tin Soldier will entertain viewers and parade goers alike. After performing on the parade route, The Spinners will offer a medley of their classic hits for an uplifting finale.

In the first official parade of the holidays, Grand Marshals Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, illuminate over one million lights on 200 trees along “The Magnificent Mile,” one of the greatest avenues in the world.  Appearing on an awe-inspiring float, the world’s most famous characters will lead the way for four new marching bands from around the country including the Gulf Coast Shark Band (Naples,FL), Greendale High School Marching Band (Greendale, WI), Vandalia-Butler Marching Aviators And Kickline (Vandalia, OH), and Archbold High School Bluestreak Marching Band (Archbold, OH) in addition to returning fan favorites including the Crystal Lake Strikers, and others. Floating high above the crowds will be Twinkles the Snowman, beautiful gift packages and the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital balloons.

Members of the ABC 7 Eyewitness News team— Judy Hsu, Rob Elgas and Jessica D’Onofrio will be spreading good cheer as they ride atop ABC 7 Chicago’s whimsical float during the parade.  

The broadcast’s grand finale, The Wintrust Fireworks Spectacular, will light up the sky (and children’s hearts) with a dazzling fireworks display over the Chicago River, after Santa ushers in the holiday season on a beautiful float!

This is the 16th consecutive year the much-anticipated tradition will be broadcasted to Chicago audiences on ABC 7, the most watched television station in the city. Throughout the holiday season, the special will be watched in nearly 100% of the country’s television markets as well as Toronto, Canada, with encore airings in multiple markets. Check local listings for times.

About ABC7/WLS-TV Chicago
ABC7/WLS-TV Chicago is the No. 1 local news source and most-watched television station in Chicago. With top-rated daily newscasts spanning decades and the largest social media presence in the market with more than 2.6 million Facebook followers, ABC7 Eyewitness News provides breaking news, investigative reporting, weather, politics, traffic and sports in the multiplatform space to Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana. Named Best News Operation by the Associated Press for four consecutive years, ABC 7 Eyewitness News produces “Chicago Proud,” a series of features that spotlights everyday heroes in and around Chicago. The station also produces the highest-rated New Year’s Eve special in Chicago, holiday kickoff special “The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival,” syndicated to a national audience, as well as the award-winning program series “Our Chicago,” which showcases the city’s diversity and highlights contributions in the Black, Hispanic, Asian, LGBTQ+ communities, among others. Every Friday, Windy City Weekend entertains while giving Chicagoans everything they need to know about what’s happening in the city. ABC 7 is the only Chicago station producing and broadcasting parades representing Chicago’s rich cultural history. In addition to producing town halls focused on current social issues, the station has a long and proud tradition of broadcasting political candidate debates keeping Chicago’s electorate informed. ABC7’s outreach efforts include annual partnerships with the Red Cross for life-saving blood drives, one of the biggest one-day drives in the country and, most recently, spearheading an effort to raise more than $1.5 million for area food pantries.