Magnificent Mile Lights Festival makes a magical mile

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival makes a magical mile
The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival parade heads southbound on Michigan Avenue at Pioneer Court, on Chicago's Magnificent Mile on Saturday, November 19, 2011. (Nuccio DiNuzzo/ Chicago Tribune)

Mickey, Minnie and Disney turned the

Magnificent Mile

into the Happiest Place on Earth Saturday night during the

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

kickoff weekend.

Activities on Pioneer Court at 401 N.

Michigan Ave

. began at 11 a.m. The mild but windy weather made for a good evening of festivities that included the lighting procession, led by Mickey and Minnie, and performances by "A.N.T. Farm" star

China Anne McClain

(with her sisters Lauryn and Sierra), and others. "American Idol" finalists Haley Reinhart and Casey Abrams performed at 2:30 p.m. for the crowd.

The event, in its 20th year, brought out thousands of parade revelers from first-timers to families who consider the festivities an annual tradition. The almost 2-hour holiday event that kicks off the shopping season on Michigan Avenue, ended with a fireworks display over the Chicago River.

There are also events this weekend at

Navy Pier

, beginning at 10 a.m. Sunday. For more information, call 312-409-5560.

Sunday events include:

Chicago Toy and Game Fair

Meet toy inventors and play with, preview or purchase toys and games. Family entertainment includes Kidz Kabaret's production of "Rugrats,"


Dance Company and the Chicago Yo-Yo Club. When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Where: Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave. Price: $10, $5 for children 3-13; 847-677-8277,


McCormick Tribune Ice Rink

Opening weekend at the

Millennium Park

ice rink. When: 10 a.m.-10 p.m. (also 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday) through March 11. Where: Millennium Park, 100 N. Michigan Ave. Price: free, $10 for skate rental; 312-742-1168,


For a complete schedule, go to