Holiday light festival brings seasonal cheer to Downtown Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) — Tonight’s snow setting was a perfect scene for an annual downtown tradition.

Hundreds enjoyed the Milwaukee ‘Holiday Lights Festival’ at Pere Marquette Park.

It is officially a winter wonderland in Downtown Milwaukee — with the 24th annual ‘Holiday Lights Festival’.

The smell of hot chocolate lingered in the air among the lights at Pere Park.

It was also an evening full of singing, dancing and holiday cheer.

“We want to wish you a holiday season filled with love, happiness and cheer,” said Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors.

The ‘Holiday Lights Festival’ illuminated Downtown Milwaukee Thursday with half a million colored lights.

“We have three decorated parks down, Pere Marquette Park is one Cathedral Square, and Ziedler Union,” said MKE Downtown Marketing Director Sue Button. “We also have our seventeen chandeliers that are on Wisconsin Avenue.”

The Clean Sweep Ambassador Program began light installation in October — including 114 Christmas trees at Cathedral Square.

“When you start to see all the families come in to appreciate everything that’s been done, it’s a chance to come out and make memories happen,” said Clean Sweep Ambassadors Director Greg Peterson.

Thursday’s festival kickoff was the first live celebration since 2019 — with virtual events the last few years.

“It’s really good to see people back here again this year,” said Peterson. “The holiday season is upon us, next week is Thanksgiving, it’s like the time for people to come back together.”

The holiday lights — complimented by musical performances, and a special fireworks show over the river.

“It’s a really wonderful, festive, community spirit here. We’ve been doing this for 24 years, we know it’s a staple for so many families, so we’re going to keep coming back year after year,” said Peterson.

The light displays will be up throughout those three downtown parks until Jan 1.

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