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PARADE PREVIEW: New Floats, Balloon and Marching Bands to join 2008 Parade

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

America's Thanksgiving Parade kicks off at 9:20 a.m.

by Jason Rzucidlo
americajr@americajr.com

DETROIT -- As hundreds of thousands of people line Woodward Avenue and millions watch across the country, they will notice three new floats, one new balloon and a first-time marching band. America's Thanksgiving Parade celebrates its 82nd year of making magic and memories for children and adults. It all begins at the intersection of Woodward and Mack and travels south on Woodward to Congress on Thursday at 9:20 a.m.

4,500 volunteers. 300 papier-mâché heads. Over 75 floats, balloons and celebrities. That's what it takes for America's Thanksgiving Parade to be successful. "Legends and Lollipops" is this year's parade theme. The annual tradition highlights the city's growth and major transformations.

Three new floats were added to the parade. First, Putting America on Wheels, is a float sponsored by UAW-GM. It features five different functioning motors and two generators. The float is 20 feet wide, 40 feet long and includes over 100 buttons.

“Thanksgiving is a day when American families pause to count their blessings,” said Diana Tremblay, GM North America Vice President, Labor Relations. “The same is true for the UAW-GM family. We’re very grateful to be part of the American tradition.”

Secondly, Building a Life, is a new float sponsored by National City. It represents the many stages in life -- saving for a child, building a business, having a family and planning for retirement. It resembles a large Monopoly-like game board with bank game pieces and a wise banker owl helping to oversee the steps. It features a spinner that is 5 feet long and 12 feet tall, a piggy bank capable of holding $200 in pennies, a hammer that weights over 1,000 pounds and dice that are big enough to hold 93,000 regular-sizes dice.

“National City Bank is very excited about supporting The Parade Company and this wonderful holiday tradition that brings the entire community together,” said David Boyle, President, Michigan & Northwest Ohio Banking, National City Bank.

Two students had the opportunity to get their drawings turned into a real-life float and balloon. Julissa Madrigal's drawing of Our Aquarium was turned into a life-size float. She is a 7th grade student from Earhart Middle School in Detroit. Emirene Munoz's design, Elephante, was turned into a larger-than-life balloon that will be a part of the parade. She is an 8th grade student from Clippert Academy in Detroit.

Eastern Michigan University's marching band will perform during the parade for the very first time. The group is expected to be on TV at around 10:03 a.m.

Celebrities that will make appearances during the parade or will ride on floats are: Brooke Hogan, The Contours featuring Silver Potts, Brandy, Lloyd, Meadowlark Lemon, Mitch Ryder, Nuttin Buy Stringz, and Vicki Winans. New Detroit Mayor Ken Cockrel Jr. will present Santa Claus with the key to the city for the first time.

Grand marshals including Olympic-winning swimmer Peter Vanderkaay, Olympic-winning runner Garrett Weber Gale, Olympic-winning soccer player Lindsay Tarpley and Paralympic-winning swimmer Cheryl Angelelli. Those individuals will also ride on the Let Freedom Float during the parade.

Chevrolet will provide over 40 vehicles that will be used for pulling the floats, driving costumed characters, assisting in the Turkey Trot and moving equipment. The Chevy Malibu and Traverse will serve as pace cars at the start of the parade.

Parade activities begin early with the 26th Annual Turkey Trot, 6th Annual Mashed Potato Mile and 3rd Annual Stuffing Strut. It all kicks off with the Mashed Potato Mile at 7:30 a.m. The one-mile walk/run allows runners of all ages to enjoy the same magic of the Turkey Trot. The Turkey Trot and the Stuffing Strut begin at 8:00 a.m. The trot is one of Michigan's largest 10K runs while the strut is a 5K run. Both start and finish at Cobo Center.

The route has changed for the walk/run events. The course used to go around the campus of Wayne State University. The farthest north it now runs is Woodward and Mack then it heads south and east past the Renaissance Center and turns at Chene Park.

“We at Fifth Third Bank are delighted, for the seventh year, to show our support for America’s Thanksgiving Parade® with these outstanding community events,” said Jack Riley, Vice President and Marketing Director of Fifth Third Bank. “The experience gets better each year.”

Entries received November 22nd through race day remain $10 for the Mashed Potato Mile, but increase to $35 for the Turkey Trot and Stuffing Strut each. Registrations are accepted on race day at Cobo Center for the Mashed Potato Mile, Stuffing Strut and Turkey Trot. Participants can register online by visiting www.theparade.org or by calling the Turkey Trot Hotline at 313.247.4149.

We look forward to seeing you at America's Thanksgiving Parade! We'll be interviewing spectators and recording video footage of the parade. If you see us, you could be on AmericaJR.com! We'll see you on Woodward Avenue... Stay tuned for a BIG contest on our website on the night after the parade!

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

The Mashed Potato Mile begins at 7:30 a.m. while the Turket Trot and the Stuffing Strut begin at 8:00 a.m.

 

[ Return to our coverage of the 2008 America's Thanksgiving Parade ]

 

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Copyright © 2008 AmericaJR.com. All Rights Reserved.
Unauthorized duplication or use of Text, 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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