cover story - december 2013
Downtown Milwaukee sparkles for the holidays
Downtown Milwaukee sparkles through Dec. 29 as part of the 15th Annual Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival. The award-winning festival features hundreds of events, three decorated parks and a convenient Jingle Bus tour that connects visitors to all the sights.
“The Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival is a winter attraction for Midwesterners,” said Beth Weirick, executive director of Milwaukee Downtown, Business Improvement District #21, the organization responsible for coordinating the annual event. “Aside from the brilliant light displays and convenient Jingle Bus tours, we offer hundreds of holiday happenings. There’s something for all ages.”
Each season, the Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival decorates three Milwaukee County parks with larger-than-life animated sculptures. For additional information on the Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival, call 414-220-4700 or visit milwaukeeholidaylights.com.
Cathedral Square Park
Cocoa with the Clauses
Kids can share their wish lists while parents snap a keepsake photo. Free hot cocoa and cookies are part of the holiday fun, as well as free face painting, games, music by DJ Shawna, roving holiday characters and discounted, kid-friendly menus at select restaurants on Cathedral Square. The event is supported by Madison Medical Affiliates.
Pere Marquette Park
Santa’s elves are charged up for the season! In this North Pole scene, electric elves are completing those last-minute tasks. From decorating trees and shopping for gifts to shipping out goodies by plane and train, it’s a final push to get Santa ready for the busiest night of the year.
Zeidler Union Square
With this rockin’ display, animated bear sculptures band together with a keyboard, horn, guitar, drums and an accordion to create sounds of the season. Among the revelry, guests will find the ever-popular Giant Red Teddy.
Ride the Jingle Bus for great views Visitors can gaze at downtown’s light displays aboard the convenient Jingle Bus. For $1 per person, this Coach USA bus takes visitors on a 40-minute tour throughout downtown. A friendly Public Service Ambassador is on board to acquaint riders with downtown attractions. The Jingle Bus is presented by T-Mobile Operated by Wireless Vision, LLC.
The Jingle Bus operates 6-9 p.m., Thursdays through Sundays, through Dec. 29. Rides begin at The Shops of Grand Avenue’s Center Court, 275 W. Wisconsin Ave., where the Festival Warming House is located. Tickets are sold on a first-come, first-served basis each night beginning at 5:30 p.m. Passengers also receive a $3 parking voucher at The Shops of Grand Avenue’s attached structure with their Jingle Bus ticket purchase. The voucher is valid until 10 p.m. on the night the tour is taken.
Waiting riders enjoy hot cocoa and cookies as well as the festive sounds of Leonard Bearstein and his symphony orchestra of bears, while coloring books are distributed to little ones. “If you’re not a regular downtown visitor, jump on the Jingle Bus,” said Vince Flores, director of Milwaukee Downtown’s Public Service Ambassador program. “Our team will have you familiar with downtown before the ride is over!”
About Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21
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