The Wintrust Magnificent Mile Lights Festival – the official kickoff to the holiday shopping season on Michigan Ave. – is this Saturday, November 18.

Walt Disney World stars Mickey and Minnie Mouse were in Chicago on Thursday to test out lights that will sparkle on 200 trees, including a tall Christmas tree outside the Wrigley Building.

Wendy Schenker is VP of Marketing and Chief Entertainment Officer for Wintrust, which is the sponsor of the event.

“We’re so proud to be the title sponsor and we’re bringing a lot of fun things to the parade this year, including Santa Claus on his float. We’re going to have a float with Sister Sledge and then there’s the awesome fireworks spectacular when the parade ends. There’s just so many great things that we’re happy to bring to the people of Chicago and the suburbs and everybody that wants to join in,” she said.

On Saturday, Santa and Mrs. Clause will pose for photographs. There will be entertainment and complimentary slices of Eli’s Cheesecake. Restauranteur, the late Eli Schulman, was the founder of the 32-year-old tradition.

The public is encouraged to wear an outrageous holiday sweater. The organizers are trying to set a record for most holiday sweaters worn at one event.

The parade and lighting of Michigan Ave. steps off at 5:30 p.m. at Oak Street, marching south to Wacker Drive for the fireworks display at 7 p.m.