Planners of a lavish New Year’s Eve celebration are making a bet that revelers will flock to Chicago to ring in 2016 outside in the December cold.
Chi-Town Rising will be centered around a Times Square-style countdown with a giant star ascending (not dropping) 36 stories up the Hyatt Regency Chicago, 151 E. Wacker. Musical acts will play on stages on both sides of the Chicago River, and a fireworks show — bill on the event’s website as “the most epic fireworks display the city has ever seen” — will herald arrival of the new year in Central Standard Time.
A live broadcast on WMAQ-Channel 5 is planned.
The aim of the free, privately funded mega-event is to heighten the city’s appeal during a traditionally slow time for business and boost the volume of Chicago visitors, who totaled 50.2 million in 2014. In a statement announcing Chi-Town Rising, Don Welsh, president and CEO of the Choose Chicago tourism agency, called it “a key component to achieving Mayor Emanuel’s goal of increasing annual visitation to 55 million by 2020.”
The Chicago marketing firm Arena Partners is spearheading Chi-Town Rising. More information about talent and activities will be announced in the coming weeks.