Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival kicks off Nov. 21 with magical lineup

November 20, 2019

Kickoff ceremony to feature holiday acts, fireworks and Santa at Pere Marquette Park

Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21 will illuminate the city during the 21st annual Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival, Nov. 21 – Jan. 1. The six-week celebration begins on Thursday, Nov. 21 with a kickoff ceremony at 6:30 p.m. in Pere Marquette Park, 900 N. Plankinton Ave. Featuring musical numbers, holiday treats, fireworks, and a visit from Santa Claus, the Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival Kickoff Extravaganza will jumpstart the city’s season of cheer.

The dazzling night of performances includes Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra, Jenny Thiel, cast members from “Black Nativity” and Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s “A Christmas Carol,” Anita’s Dance Center, Milwaukee Flyers, Robin Adkins, illusionist David Seebach, and national recording artist Grace Weber. A fireworks ceremony will then top off the night. Free cookies and hot cocoa from Taste of Home, plus Jingle Bus rides, presented by Meijer and powered by Coach USA, will be made available to guests in attendance. Preshow entertainment will start at 5:30 p.m., following the City Christmas Tree Lighting at City Hall.

After the Nov. 21 kickoff, families can view all the decorated sights aboard the Jingle Bus presented by Meijer. The 40-minute tour, narrated by Milwaukee Downtown’s Public Service Ambassadors, is a no-fuss way to see the magic of downtown. Tour highlights include the chandeliers suspended above Wisconsin Avenue, plus “Community Spirit Park” at Cathedral Square Park, “Polar Park” at Pere Marquette Park and “Holiday Hearth powered by We Energies” at Zeidler Union Square. Tours will depart from The Avenue, 161 W. Wisconsin Ave., Thursdays through Sundays, from 6 p.m. to 8:20 p.m. until Dec. 29. Rides are just $2 per person, cash only, and parking is available in the attached Interstate Parking structure for $3. Please note the Jingle Bus will not operate on Thanksgiving.

Throughout the season, the Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival also bundles Downtown Milwaukee’s expansive list of holiday offerings, including concerts, shows, exhibitions, sporting events and other merry measures, including Santa’s Mailbox, Nov. 21 – Dec. 15, and Cocoa with the Clauses presented by Madison Medical Affiliates, Saturday, Dec. 14 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., both in Cathedral Square Park. Children who place a letter in Santa’s Mailbox, presented by Serving Older Adults with support from GEICO Local Milwaukee Office, will receive a personalized reply by mail, provided they supply a return address.

For more information on the Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival or to request a free, comprehensive guide, call 414.220.4700 or visit

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