Chicago rang in 2016 with an epic first-of-its-kind bash downtown Thursday, featuring hours of live music, a massive fireworks show and a giant star rising into the night sky.
Thousands gathered at Chi-Town Rising along the Chicago riverfront between Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive, bundled up against a chilly forecast.
Evening performances by legendary rock band Chicago and alt-rock band American Authors highlighted a fireworks display over the Chicago River and a massive star rising 36 stories up the Hyatt Regency Chicago’s West Tower.
“We are thrilled to welcome a new tradition to our city, changing the way that Chicago and the Midwest celebrates New Year’s Eve,” John Murray, founder of Arena Partners and Executive Producer of Chi-Town Rising, said in a statement.
Mario Lopez, his wife Courtney Lopez, Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbajabiamila of NBC's "American Ninja Warrior," and NBC 5 traffic reporter Marley Kayden hosted the event, televised live on NBC 5 and Telemundo Chicago.
The celebration aimed to showcase Chicago as a destination for New Year’s Eve and to encourage winter travelers to visit the city.
Chi-Town Rising began at 7 p.m. with live entertainment on a Countdown Stage, which will host four hours of music leading up to the TV broadcast and headlining musical performances.
A free Family Countdown took place at Millennium Park from 3-6 p.m., offering activity stations that feature New Year’s customs from countries around the world, kids’ karaoke and a grand finale at 6 p.m.
For a complete timeline of Chi-Town Rising events, click here.