DOWNTOWN — After calling it quits on an elaborate New Year’s Eve celebration meant to rival the excitement of Times Square in New York, organizers of ChiTown Rising are back — with a much more affordable alternative.
Fireworks displays will kick off at midnight Tuesday at five spots along the Chicago River Downtown, according to city tourism agency Choose Chicago. The separate displays will be synchronized, so revelers can catch the choreographed display from Fulton Street to Columbus Drive.
“With all of the amazing developments along the Chicago Riverwalk in recent years, it is only fitting that spectacular fireworks helping ring in the New Year have a home there,” David Whitaker, president and CEO of Choose Chicago, said in a statement. “We are thrilled to collaborate with the other partners to add to our city’s celebration, especially for the thousands of visitors who travel to Chicago to share in the excitement.”
Chi-Town Rising, organized by Arena Partners, debuted for New Year’s 2016. The celebration culminated in a big star ascending the riverfront Hyatt Regency Chicago, 151 E. Wacker Drive, and was broadcast nationally on NBC. The debut festival led all local New Year’s Eve broadcasts.
The festival returned for New Year’s 2017 after Arena Partners said 90,000 people came out for the first Chi-Town Rising.
But the celebration still failed to draw the A-list names that appear annually during similar telecasts in New York, Miami and other cities. Arena Partners revealed that the first festival failed to turn a profit, and didn’t disclose 2017 figures.
They didn’t return for 2018, and Downtown hotels and other businesses felt their loss.
Arena Partners CEO John Murray told the Chicago Tribune that his company was approached to bring some New Year’s Eve traffic back to the riverfront. The fireworks displays, which will be set to a soundtrack you can hear at partnering hotels and businesses listed here, cost 10 times less than ChiTown Rising, Murray told the paper.
The free display kicks off at midnight. More details can be found here. Navy Pier will also have its own fireworks display at midnight, along with a variety of events.
As for the future of ChiTown Rising? It could come back next year, Murray told the Tribune.