CHICAGO
11/23/2013 02:57 pm ET

Lights Festival 2013 Kicks Off Chicago Holiday Season On Mag Mile

Officials are anticipating more than a million people in attendance for the the 2013 Magnificent Mile Lights Festival when it kicks off the holiday season off in downtown Chicago Saturday.

Amid chilly daytime weather, festivities started at 11 a.m. with the parade is set to step off at 5:30 p.m. according to ABC Chicago. The parade heads south on Michigan Avenue from Oak Street until it hits Wacker Drive.

As ABC notes, the bulk of the festivities will take place before the parade kicks off, with the entire celebration culminating in a fireworks display over the Chicago River at 6:55 p.m.

Grand marshalled by Micky and Minnie Mouse, celebrity appearances for the event include Debbie Gibson, Megan Nicole and actor Mario Lopez, the latter of whom will host "Largest Holiday Carol" singalong starting at 5 p.m., according to NBC Chicago.

The event also includes a performance from the Coal City High School show choir, one of the central Illinois towns hit hard by last week's tornadoes.

Despite the family-friendly trappings, the event also has big implications for Mag Mile businesses. As retailers fret over the shorter shopping season given the late Thanksgiving date, ABC reports Michigan Avenue retailers are expecting this weekend's sales to total roughly "two-thirds of a typical Black Friday."

As DNAinfo Chicago notes, the city has warned of multiple street closures in the downtown area on account of Saturday's festivities.

ALSO ON HUFFPOST:

PHOTO GALLERY
HuffPost
BEFORE YOU GO
13 Inspiring Photos Of Chicago
PHOTO GALLERY
13 Inspiring Photos Of Chicago

CONVERSATIONS