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Magnificent Mile Lights Festival to be live again with Kool & the Gang, Deborah Cox, Tag Team

The two-day extravaganza culminates with the traditional Michigan Avenue parade on Nov. 20.

Minnie and Mickey Mouse wave to fans during the 2019 Magnificent Mile Lights Festival.
Magnificent Mile Association

Kool & the Gang, an “American Idol” finalist and the “Whoomp! There It Is” guys will join Mickey and Minnie Mouse at next week’s BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival.

The 30th annual fest, an adrenaline shot for the Chicago holiday season, returns as a live event after the COVID-19 scare last year limited the festivities to just a TV broadcast.

The two-day extravaganza culminates with the traditional Michigan Avenue parade beginning at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 20, at Oak Street. As the Disney mice light more than a million lights along, the crowd will be entertained by Kool & the Gang (performing their hit “Celebration”), Tag Team (the rap duo best known for “Whoomp!”) and Grace Kinstler, the Crystal Lake singer who finished third on “American Idol” earlier this year.

R&B and Broadway star Deborah Cox will do double duty, performing at a tree lighting ceremony at the Wrigley Building plaza (4 p.m. Nov. 19) and then the next day in the parade, which ends with fireworks at Wacker Drive.

Leading up to the parade will be a variety of free events starting at 11 a.m. at 401 N. Michigan Ave., including pet adoption, a temporary tattoo booth, photos with Santa and DJ entertainment.

Visitors are asked to wear masks regardless of vaccination status.

Highlights from the parade will air in a TV special premiering at 6 p.m. Nov. 21 on WLS-Channel 7.