Local & Chicago winter events

Olivia Loner, Reporter

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Magnificent Mile Lights Festival, Chicago Illinois: This annual festival is the nation’s largest evening holiday celebration held on November 17th and 18th on North Michigan Avenue. It is put on and sponsored by the BMO Harris Bank Center. Activities such as the tree-lighting parade and firework display over the Chicago River take place during this festival. This festival is very child-friendly as Mickey and Minnie Mouse make appearances for meet and greets, as well as Santa Claus. The event is free to watch, but with additional costs like shopping, food, hotels, and pictures with characters.

   Fifth Third Bank Winter Wonderfest at Navy Pier: The 17th annual Winter Wonderfest will take place December 1st-January 7th. This event has Chicago’s biggest indoor winter play-ground, that includes 170,000 square feet of rides, giant slides, skating rinks, and many holiday decorations on display. People who attend this event can skate on the Chicago Blackhawks ice skating rink. Tickets range from $19-$27 and the tickets include a ride on the Centennial Wheel at Navy Pier.

   Festival of Lights, Rockford Illinois: This event is a state-line family tradition since 1989, presented by the Rockford Fourth of July Committee and the Rockford Park District. The festival is open 5-10 pm, November 25th- December 25th. In the festival, they have mailboxes where children can leave letters for Santa. If there’s a return address, Santa will write the child back. The event is free to get in, but donations are accepted to make this tradition possible each year. The festival is located at Sinnissippi Park, 1401 North Second Street.

   Tour de Frost, Rockford Illinois: The 8th annual bicycle race will take place in Rockford on December 2nd. It is presented by Team Fur Bandit at the Vitamin Shoppe. Registration is $35 online or $40 the day of the race. It is a 20 mile bicycle ride around Rockford that has fun little stops along the ride, like at the Olympic Tavern and at the Rockford Bicycling Company. The race ends at Oscar’s Pub and Grill, where the participants are treated to a pizza party. The Team Fur Bandit works with the Fish-Abled foundation to help people in need around the holidays.

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