Mayor Lightfoot and DCASE Announce 107th Annual City of Chicago Christmas Tree in Millennium Park
Holiday events include a new virtual program, ice skating at Maggie Daley Park, and other activities across the Millennium Park Campus
CHICAGO — Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) today announced details for the 107th Annual City of Chicago Christmas Tree in Millennium Park – Chicago’s “official” Christmas tree, presented by Powering Chicago: IBEW Local 134/NECA. This year’s Tree is a 45-foot Blue Spruce donated by the family of Catherine Townsend of Chicago’s Morgan Park neighborhood (19th ward). Millennium Park holiday programs are produced by DCASE and presented by Powering Chicago, with support from the Millennium Park Foundation and Chicago Transit Authority.
“We are extremely excited to be continuing our city’s beloved winter traditions this season in a safe and healthy way,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “Despite the historic challenges presented throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been unceasing in finding workable solutions at every turn that support our families, protect our communities, and unite us during this unprecedented moment.”
“Powering Chicago is honored to illuminate the 107th Christmas Tree for the City of Chicago,” said Elbert Walters III, Director at Powering Chicago, the labor-management partnership between IBEW Local 134 and the Electrical Contractors’ Association of the City of Chicago. “This year’s Tree will provide a bright spot for Chicagoans and visitors in what has been a trying time for all. I want to thank Electrical Contractors’ Association members, All Tech Energy and members of IBEW Local 134 who are responsible for lighting and decorating this year’s Tree.”
Due to COVID-19 health and safety concerns, DCASE will not present an in-person Tree lighting ceremony for the public, but Chicagoans and visitors are invited to attend a new virtual holiday program premiering on November 19 at 6:30pm at YouTube.com/ChicagoDCASE – and visit Millennium Park to see the City of Chicago Christmas Tree shining brightly near the intersection of Michigan Ave. and Washington St. from November 20 through January 7. The Park is open daily, 8:00am to 9:00pm, for groups of 10 persons or fewer who practice physical distancing and wear face coverings. For information about where to enter/exit the Park and other details, visit MillenniumPark.org.
“Gardening has always been my mother’s favorite hobby,” said Sherri Mitchell, a daughter of 85-year-old, retired Chicago Public Schools teacher Catherine Townsend, who donated this year’s Tree. “Neighbors always complimented her on her flowers and her yard’s beautiful landscaping, not the least of which were our towering Spruce trees.”
The new, 30-minute “Millennium Park at Home: Chicago Holidays” program debuting on November 19 at 6:30pm – presented in lieu of an in-person Tree lighting ceremony for the public – is produced by Kurtis Productions with support from the Millennium Park Foundation and DCASE. It will include a holiday greeting from Mayor Lightfoot and First Lady Amy Eshleman, special acknowledgements of Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, and music performances recorded at the Epiphany Center for the Arts featuring the Chicago Children’s Choir, Sones de México Ensemble and Percy Bady and friends – with a special tribute to the 50th anniversary of Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas.” The event will be archived and viewable throughout the Holiday season at YouTube.com/ChicagoDCASE.
Skating will not be presented at Millennium Park’s McCormick Tribune Ice Rink this season, but the Chicago Park District will offer skating in neighboring Maggie Daley Park at the Ice Skating Ribbon – opening on November 20. This season, reservations and masks will be required to skate. Reservations can be made up to two weeks in advance. For details, visit MaggieDaleyPark.com.
While visiting Millennium Park, guests are encouraged to take selfies with the iconic Cloud Gate and Crown Fountain sculptures, take a quiet stroll through Lurie Garden, and see the Millennium Monument and Jay Pritzker Pavilion lit up in holiday colors. Opening in December, a new art installation in Wrigley Square created by designer and gallerist Jason Pickleman, presented by the Millennium Park Foundation, will honor the Chicago lives lost to COVID-19.
Other in-person and virtual events across the Millennium Park Campus include:
- Virtual tours of the Chicago Cultural Center – plus outdoor public art tours of the Millennium Park Campus on the first and third Saturday of the month, DCASEVolunTours.org
- In lieu of the annual Dance-Along Nutcracker® event at the Chicago Cultural Center, which remains closed to the public, the original Dance-Along Nutcracker will be streamed for free by the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band (December 12 & 13, DanceAlongNutcracker.org) – and Ballet Chicago will present two virtual versions of The Nutcracker (December 18–30, ticket at BalletChicago.org).
- Holiday shopping at Buddy, a new store created by the Public Media Institute selling Chicago-made art, objects and more – online for now at hi-buddy.org and on the first floor of the Chicago Cultural Center when it reopens (Additionally, show off your Chicago pride with artist-designed Official Summer Festival Merchandise created in collaboration with the Design Museum of Chicago, dcase.tsmgi.net)
- Comedy Tailgate to Skate, December 1, and other special events at the Ice Skating Ribbon in Maggie Daley Park, MaggieDaleyPark.com
- CMS at Home: Brandenburg Concertos presented by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and Harris Theater for Music and Dance, streaming December 17–21, HarrisTheaterChicago.org
- Monet and Chicago, through January 18, and other exhibitions and events at the Art Institute of Chicago, artic.edu
The latest projections from Art on theMART will resume on November 12 with an all-new program. Just in time to celebrate the holidays, The Joffrey Ballet will debut a moving-image work of art featuring production images from its acclaimed production of the Christmas classic The Nutcracker; the Art Institute of Chicago will present images from two of its current exhibitions, Monet and Chicago, and Bisa Butler: Portraits; and Arts of Life will show a compilation of the artists’ bold images, animated together as a video projection. Shown nightly at 7:00 and 7:30pm through December 30. For details, visit ArtontheMART.com.
Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors.
Powering Chicago: IBEW Local 134/NECA
Bringing together the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 134 electricians and the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA) of the City of Chicago, Powering Chicago is an electrical industry labor-management partnership (LMCC) that invests in consistently better construction, better careers and better communities within the metro Chicago region. Employing the latest technology, our members are elevating industry performance through their commitment to safety, level of experience and reliability, while also investing in the future of skilled labor through an innovative, five-year apprenticeship program.
Millennium Park Foundation
The Millennium Park Foundation, a private, philanthropic nonprofit partner, was created in 1998 to support the City of Chicago’s efforts in the design, construction, and curation of Millennium Park. It is the steward of Millennium Park’s internationally-recognized icons and public features. These include the prestigious Jay Pritzker Pavilion and dramatic BP Pedestrian Bridge, world-renowned Cloud Gate and Lurie Garden, iconic Crown Fountain, and exquisite Boeing Galleries for public art exhibitions. Through its ongoing development initiatives, the Millennium Park Foundation is dedicated to keeping Millennium Park a free, accessible and equitable venue for all Chicagoans today, and for generations to come.
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