Our VP of Client Engagement Ellen Farrar has worked on the Festival for 18 years, first as an employee of The Magnificent Mile Association, and for the last three years as part of the TimeZoneOne team, and a volunteer. She explains the joys and challenges of such a vast event.
Powered by 800 Volunteers
Every year the Association recruits and trains 800 volunteers from local businesses. After months of committee work, we all meet first thing the morning of the Lights Festival. Fueled by our traditional breakfast of peppermint mochas and Egg McMuffins, we meet, greet, and go our separate ways to our tasks.
The volunteers do everything, from setting up signage and stalls, to getting the parade on the road. There are so many variables, but we come together and function as one to solve problems, laugh in the face of adversity, and knock down wildcards one by one. It’s joyful and community building. You fall in love with your comrades because you’ve done something so rewarding together.
Growing the Festival Family
We love the event so much we’re always looking for ways to involve our community. The Illinois Office of Tourism sponsored Santa Claus at the Festival last year, and this year we were able to get them access to broadcast the parade on Facebook Live. We can’t take credit for this, but it was wonderful this year to see new TimeZoneOne clients Garrett Popcorn and Frango with branded floats, giving out samples of delicious treats throughout the day.
Proud to Partner with You for Five Years of Fun
Marketing the event starts months ahead on social media. As we get closer to the festival, our design team get stuck into a serious shopping list of promotional assets, including large scale signage, a holiday activity guide, posters, information panels, street pole banners, and all manner of digital goodies. It’s been really exciting this year to have been part of some large-scale branding and place making initiatives.
We’re grateful to The Magnificent Mile Association, for allowing us to play such a critical part in this event, both as your marketing partner, and personally, as volunteers. It’s so much fun, and it brings us much closer to you. You know you’re part of an extraordinary project when you feel like a family. Congratulations!
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