We’ve been celebrating Halloween since August, but we’re still not ready for, you know, the holidays. But that’s not stopping Milwaukee Downtown BID #21 from announcing its annual Holiday Lights Festival (presented by Johnson Financial Group)! This year’s fest—the 25th installment—will be on display from November 16 through January 1.

In addition to street decorations covering 18 downtown blocks, the festival will take over three downtown parks. Cathedral Square Park will host the “Community Spirit Park.” Pere Marquette Park will host “Feliz Navidad.” Zeidler Union Square will host “Santa’s Celebration Square Powered By We Energies.”

New this year will be an “Ornament Trail” on Wisconsin Avenue, featuring “15 larger-than-life ornaments, each designed and painted by a different artist.”

A switch-flipping ceremony dubbed the “Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival Kickoff Extravaganza” is set for Thursday, November 16 at 6:30 p.m. in Pere Marquette Park. In addition to flipping that switch, the party will feature “live music, dance acts, a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus, a fireworks ceremony and pre-show entertainment starting at 5:30 p.m..” Oh, and free treats! And “free Jingle Bus rides will be available after the show for guests to tour downtown’s festive panorama”!

Speaking of that Jingle Bus, it’s a 40-minute narrated tour of the downtown lights. Look for an operating schedule and ticket info at www.milwaukeeholidaylights.com soon.

“The Milwaukee Holiday Lights Festival presented by Johnson Financial Group is a brilliant holiday tradition,” says Beth Weirick, CEO of Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21, in a press release. “We’re thrilled to celebrate 25 years of magical moments with Milwaukee-area families and look forward to kindling new memories with our anniversary-themed decorations, displays and happenings.”

Here’s our kid-led tour from 2020:

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Matt Wild weighs between 140 and 145 pounds. He lives on Milwaukee's east side.