Milwaukee's 18th annual Holiday Lights Festival sets the city aglow November 17th

MILWAUKEE -- Downtown Milwaukee will soon glow brightly with the 18th annual Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival that will set the city aglow beginning November 17th through January 1st.

The six-week celebration kicks off with a switch-flipping ceremony on Thursday, November 17th at 6:30 p.m. in Pere Marquette Park -- located at 900 N. Plankinton Ave.

Igniting the season of holiday cheer, the ceremony will feature spirited performances, musical numbers, warm holiday treats, and an incredible fireworks show. Don't forget the celebration's guest of honor, Santa Claus!

According to a news release from Milwaukee Downtown:

Performers in the Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival Kick-Off Extravaganza include: local variety band, Platinum; USO-style trio, The Radio Rosies; Dance Academy of Mexico; professional fire performers, Brewcity Fire Brigade; local singer, Jenny Thiel; R&B soloists, Robin Adkins and Carol Molex; Elation Dance Center; and Fred Astaire Dance Studio. The show will begin at 6:30 p.m. with preshow entertainment beginning at 5:30 p.m. The official switch-flipping will take place at approximately 7 p.m., simultaneously lighting the holiday décor in Pere Marquette Park, Cathedral Square Park and Zeidler Union Square, as well as downtown’s street-level decorations. A fireworks spectacular will round out the evening.

Following the ceremony, free Jingle Bus rides presented by Meijer will operate from Pere Marquette Park to take guests past all the newly lit scenes. Tour highlights will include chandeliers suspended above Wisconsin Avenue, plus “Community Spirit Park” at Cathedral Square Park presented by Madison Medical Affiliates, Ideal Property Management, Inc. and Milwaukee County Parks, “Snowflake Sparkle Square” at Pere Marquette Park presented by Zilber Property Group and Milwaukee County Parks, and “North Pole Power Depot” at Zeidler Union Square presented by We Energies Foundation and Milwaukee County Parks. Milwaukee Downtown, Business Improvement District #21 is responsible for the procurement, installment and maintenance of these decorations.

After opening night, Jingle Bus rides presented by Meijer will operate from 6:00 p.m. to 8:20 p.m., Thursdays through Sundays, November 18 – December 30. Rides are $1 per person and depart from The Shops of Grand Avenue – Center Court, 275 W. Wisconsin Ave.