Dear Members,

Can you believe it’s already late November and that in less than 6 weeks we will welcome a new year? First up, this Sunday at 6:00P, we premiere the 29th annual BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival on ABC 7 Chicago. The boards are down and festive displays shine in time for the holiday season, along with 1M twinkling lights along The Mag Mile.

True, we are now counting down from 30 days in the latest stay-at-home advisory, but I have learned that time is relative in 2020 and we must look ahead to the mid and long term.

In that sense, we are so glad to have moved past this summer of unrest. It feels like we have made a definitive move forward. Since August, we have had a peaceful couple of months thanks to the great relationships formed with the City of Chicago, the Police Department, our Aldermen, and most importantly, each other. We take one cautious step after another in the right direction – together.

This week, I am thankful for the continued tradition of the Lights Festival. We have re-imagined the spectacle and begun new holiday traditions this year:

  • We've partnered with 12 community organizations clustered around the Invest/Southwest corridor to showcase their holiday traditions.
  • We've engaged local and award-winning star power, along with our friends at Walt Disney World, to help make this kick-off to the holiday season magnificent.
  • We’ve secured syndication of the T.V. special to more than 94% of U.S. markets through the new year, ensuring Chicago will shine nationwide!

Our Light's Festival Committee has demonstrated creativity and dedication to making sure we end the year on a positive note. A special thanks to John Idler, Chris Reller, Matt Knutson, Holly Grisham and the ABC 7 team for their amazing partnership; Lights Festival Chair, Gail Spreen, volunteers, and staff for creating fantastic programming and community partner activations; and, last but not least, BMO Harris Bank 15-year sponsorship of the Lights Festival.  This is the Magnificent Mile Association's gift to the city which would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of so many both in front of and behind the scenes.

With the election behind us, a vaccine on the horizon, and the holiday season upon us, I look forward to  taking some time to reflect on what is important - our health, our families, our friends and our partners. I hope to end the year replete with hope, unity, and renewal.  I also hope to get back to growing our businesses in 2021 and drive a much needed economic recovery.

Thank you for your resilience and continued membership in The Magnificent Mile community!

All my best,

Rich Gamble

Chair of the Board