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Chicago Festival of Lights

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It’s no secret: I love Christmas.

I love the twinkling lights and decorations. I love the music. I love the family traditions. I love the baking and eating. I love the movies we watch every year. I love the parades. It’s truly the most magical time of year.

Chicago Skyline

When I was invited to attend the Festival of Lights in Chicago this year, I was giddy. It was the combination of some of my favorite things: traveling, the city of Chicago and a giant Christmas celebration. I was all in!

Family Fun for the Holidays

It was also the perfect opportunity to spend time with my oldest son, Jorryn. With three busy little boys at home, I don’t often get the chance for quality one on one time with only one boy. Especially a weekend away!

Chicago Festival of Lights Parade Finale

Jorryn has the travel bug like his mama and was beyond thrilled to join me for the trip. He had never been to Chicago before so we had a great time playing tourist and checking out the sights. The grand finale of our trip was the Festival of Lights — and what a finale it was!

BMO Harris Bank Float

It was an honor to be a guest of BMO Harris Bank. Because I’m a BMO customer I got to have an amazing experience: sitting in the customer viewing grand stands and taking advantage of special perks throughout the day. (Keep reading to find out the perks we enjoyed!)

This is the fifth consecutive year BMO Harris Bank is the title sponsor of the BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Lights Festival. They partnered with a few local businesses to made the parade day even more special for their customers with discounts, perks and offers. I definitely felt like the red carpet was getting rolled out for me!

Dylan's Candy Bar in Chicago

Here are some of the perks:

  • 15% off at Dylan’s Candy Bar
  • BYOGO holiday beverage at Dylan’s Candy Bar
  • Discounted parking with Spot Hero
  • 20% a single item at the BlackHawks store on MI Ave
  • Plus, 100 customers were selected on parade day to enjoy the parade from grandstand viewing in the broadcast zone — which is where Jorryn and I got to watch the event!

BMO Harris Balloon

Chicago Festival of Lights Ornaments

Everything about the Festival of Lights was amazing. Plus, being a BMO guest made the event even better: we sat in the grand stands with warm blankets and hand warmers and had a great view!

Chicago Festival of Lights Parade Balloons

It was fascinating to see all the behind the scenes that goes into producing such a large scale event. We watched the live shows like Stomp, The Blue Man Group and a scene from A Christmas Carol.

There were lots of great floats and balloons.


Chicago Festival of Lights from Stephanie Keeping on Vimeo.

And of course… Santa. I’ll admit every Christmas parade I attend, seeing Santa makes me tear up a little. Seeing him waving on the sleigh signifies the start of the season to me… I think of all the past Christmases we’ve celebrated and I wonder what’s in store for the coming season. And what might be different in the coming year.

Santa Claus at Festival of Lights

I would highly encourage you to visit the Festival of Lights next year — especially as a BMO Harris Bank customer so you can enjoy all the wonderful perks!


Layne Henderson

Layne is a boy mom in love. Surrounded by three adventurous little men, she's in pursuit of an empty laundry basket, the perfect cup of coffee, and sleep. She blogs, parents, and manages social media while wearing her tiara.