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2011 Parade Fun Facts: Did You Know?

Get Ready for the 85th America's Thanksgiving Parade

GRAND MARSHALS – Bill and Lisa Ford will serve as co-grand marshals for America’s Thanksgiving ParadeÒ.

STARS TO SHINE IN PARADE – Every year the Parade features an exciting celebrity line-up and this year promises to bring Parade-goers a look at the stars, including:

  • Cari Cucksey – Star of HGTV’s hot series “Cash & Cari”
  • Erin Cummings – Actress “Spartacus,” “Detroit 1-8-7,” and currently on “Pan Am;” Founder of Mittens for Detroit
  • Doug E. Fresh – Rapper and Original Beat Box Artist, musician and recording artist
  • Louise Roe – E Entertainment Television personality
  • Jordyn Wieber – International Elite Gymnast
  • Greg Meyer – 1983 Boston Marathon Winner & recent Inductee to Michigan Sports Hall of Fame
  • Dana Sorensen – 2011 America’s Thanksgiving Parade® Queen and her Princess Court
  • Elizabeth Wertenberger – Miss Michigan 2011
  • Puss in Boots & Kitty Softpaws
  • Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax – A childhood favorite from Dr. Seuss and soon to be on the big screen
  • Hooper – Detroit Pistons Mascot
  • PAWS – Detroit Tigers Mascot
  • Roary – Detroit Lions mascot
  • And everyone’s favorite….Santa Claus

MAGICAL NEW FLOATS & A BIG HEAD – Designed, created and built by the talented artists at The Parade Company, this year’s Parade features four new floats and a new papier-mâché “Big Head.”

  • Art Van Furniture “Be What You Dream To Be” – The new float’s theme was inspired through an essay contest for Michigan high school students and will be one of the largest floats to appear in the Parade. The float is approximately 100 feet long with the most consecutive sections (4) of any float in the Parade.
  • Compuware “iWish4Detroit” – The new technology-based float is designed as an interactive “iWish4Detroit” Command Center. The Compuware Elves, donning the historic papier-mâché Elf-faced Big Heads, will utilize the mock workroom float to share the hundreds of “iWish4Detroit” tweets and messages they gathered from metro Detroiters during this Parade season on two giant LED screens placed 14-feet in the air.
  • PNC “Grow Up Great” – The new float is the Parade’s first bilingual float in English and Spanish focused on educational math, science, art and music activities. Spanning nearly 100 feet long, the float depicts children and popular Sesame StreetTM characters. It also includes an animated 20-foot-tall musical jack-in-the-box.
  • Skillman Foundation “Community Garden” – Lesly Nuñez, a 7th grade student at Clippert Academy, a Detroit Public School, was the grand-prize winning artist for the 20th Annual Skillman Foundation Float Contest. Her drawing titled, “Community Garden,” was transformed into a float representing her dream neighborhood, complete with giant sunflowers, carrots, pumpkins, strawberries and more.
  • Magic Johnson “Big Head” - The winning smile of NBA legend and entrepreneur Earvin “Magic” Johnson will grace historic Woodward Avenue on Thanksgiving morning in the form of a new papier-mâché “Big Head” for the 85th America’s Thanksgiving Parade®.

29th Annual Fifth Third Turkey Trot – The Parade Company’s 29th Annual Fifth Third Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning, Michigan’s largest 10K run, is paced for record numbers this year and 20,000 participants are expected for 2011. The race also includes the 6th Annual Strategic Staffing Solutions Stuffing Strut (5K) and 9th Annual Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Mashed Potato Mile. Considered “the parade before the parade”, the Fifth Third Turkey Trot will also feature a brand new running float presented by Strategic Staffing Solutions and the return of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan running float.

PARADE BY THE NUMBERS

  • Number of bands – 11
  • Number of balloons – 8
  • Number of papier-mâché heads – 130
  • Number of floats – 26 (plus 2 running floats in the Fifth Third Turkey Trot)
  • Number of clowns – almost 1,000
  • Total number of people marching (volunteers) – 5,000
  • Number of grandstand seats – 9,000
  • Number of beads – 300,000
  • Number of Equestrian Units – 4
  • Number of Specialty Units – 14

Distinguished Clown Corps – For more than two decades, this group of more than 130 corporate and community leaders generously contribute to the non-profit Parade Company for the opportunity to trade their business suits for clown suits to make the grand march down Woodward Avenue in downtown Detroit. This year, the Corps has added 34 new Distinguished Clowns to their ranks and Pat Fenton will serve as this year’s “Distinguished Grand Jester.”

Big Head Corps - This year will mark the 4th year of the Big Head Corps. Featuring more than 150 members, the Corps offers young professionals the opportunity to get involved with The Parade Company, while offering fun programs and networking events with other young professionals. The Parade Company owns the world’s largest collection of papier-mâché heads and with the support of the Big Head Corps, more than 130 of them will march down Woodward Avenue on Thanksgiving morning. Steve Booher will serve as this year’s “Head Honcho.”

Parade Plaza – Parade goers are encouraged to check out “Parade Plaza” on Thanksgiving morning, a free and heated tent area located by Comerica Park open from 7 a.m. – noon on Thanksgiving Day. Families will enjoy free giveaways, fun activities, meet and greets with parade characters and much more.

A Day in Paradeland presented by Charter One Bank – See and experience the larger-than-life floats featured in America’s Thanksgiving Paradeâ and enjoy games, rides and food on Saturday, November 26 from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. at The Parade Company. Admission is $6.00 per person or visit www.theparade.org for a $1 coupon to use at the door. (ages 2 and under are free).

The Parade Company Studio Tours presented by PNC – Take a magical, behind-the-scenes tour of The Parade Company and discover the city’s most hidden treasure. Tours are offered ALL YEAR ROUND and are available for groups of 10 or more and by reservation. Details at www.theparade.org or by calling Renée at (313) 923-8368.

 

ROAD CLOSURES

The following streets will be closed beginning at 6 a.m. on Nov. 24 for the Turkey Trot:

  • Fort Street from Shelby to Woodward
  • Congress from Shelby to Randolph
  • Larned from Shelby to Randolph
  • Shelby from Fort to Jefferson
  • Michigan from Vernor to Woodward
  • Monroe from Woodward to Randolph
  • Lafayette Blvd. from Washington Blvd. to Griswold
  • Washington from Adams to Civic center
  • Atwater from Bates to Third
  • Rosa Parks from Michigan to Howard

In addition, motorists should be aware of the following:

  • Southbound Lodge Freeway exit to Larned will be closed from 7 – 9:30 a.m.
  • Shelby will be converted to one way southbound from Michigan to Larned.
  • Michigan Avenue and Washington Blvd. will reopen after the Turkey Trot at approximately 9:05 a.m.

 

Sources: The Parade Company, City of Detroit and Lovio George Inc.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / AMERICAJR.com

The Detroit Lions will host the New England Patriots on Thanksgiving at 12:30 p.m.

 

[ Click here for more coverage of America's Thanksgiving Parade ]

 

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Copyright © 2011 AmericaJR.com. All Rights Reserved.
Unauthorized duplication or use of Text, Photos, Videos, Site Template, Graphics and or Site Design is Prohibited by Federal and International laws. See our Notice/Disclaimer. America's Thanksgiving Parade is a registered trademark of The Parade Company. Official logos are courtesy of The Parade Co.

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