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2007 Parade Attracts Many Die-hard Fans Despite Cold Weather and Rain

by Jason Rzucidlo
americajr@americajr.com

 

 

DETROIT – Parade goers lined Woodward Avenue from just south of Wayne State University all the way to just past Campus Martius Park. Some of them arrived as early as 11 p.m. the night before to stake our their coveted spot. Others came during the midnight hours to select their location to see all the floats, balloons and marching bands.

Cold weather kept some spectators at home. However, most of the die-hard fans that were at the parade came anyway. A large portion of the people we spoke with have been to the parade before, many of them retuning for their 6th time or more.

Parade goers came in all shapes and sizes. Everyone from babies to teenagers to adults to senior citizens. They came in all races, ethnicities and cultures. Spectators came from all across Michigan and from all over the United States.

"My son's marching in the band for Fraser High School." said Heather Berry of Fraser. "We've been here a couple of times. I'm looking forward to seeing Fraser band, all the floats and the big inflatables. I like them all. It's fun. They're festive."

The weather forecast for Thanksgiving called for snow and temperatures in the 30s. It felt like the wind chill was in the low 20s. There was not much snow other than a few short periods of flurries. Most of the precipitation that fell came in the form of rain. It was cloudy during most of the parade.

"We came with our auntie." said Chelsea Wheeler of Detroit. "We've been coming since we were young. Since I was like five. I like when the music and bands come. I like the marching bands the most because they make the parade LIVE."

Most of the children we spoke to were looking forward to seeing Santa. A lot of the parents had sons and daughters in one of the many marching bands during the parade.

"We got down here at about 6:30 this morning, " said Don Tharet of Center Line. "We've been coming about 35 years now. Looking forward to seeing Santa Claus of course. I enjoy the bands."

The theme for the 81st annual parade was "Hats Off Detroit." Parade goers were encouraged to donate a hat to the less fortunate. Hats were collected on the VIA Rail circus train that was a part of the event. All hats that were collected went to The Lighthouse of Oakland County, COTS and Grace Centers of Hope.

A contest contest was held with The Parade Company to find the Warmest Hat, Detroit Hat, Favorite Parade Memory Hat, Biggest Sports Fan Hat and Thanksgiving Hat. Winners from all those categories will ride on a float during America's Thanksgiving Parade.

The grand marshal for the parade was Mickey Mouse. Detroit Tigers pitcher Nate Robertson served as co-grand marshal. Michelle Ray Smith, who plays Ava Peralta on the CBS sitcom Guiding Light, appeared. Chloe Greenfield, who plays Sarah on ER and Lily in the movie 8 Mile road along on one of the floats.

Pop star Paula DeAnda, best known for her hit single "Walk Away (Remember Me)" will rode on the Clear Channel Sounds of Detroit float. Children TV stars, My Bedbugs will be appeared during the parade. Alvin and the Chipmunks were also on hand to make children smile. Christmas Carol, one of the original Hudson's Christmas Carols from the 1970's will also be a part of the parade. At the very end, Santa Claus will be rode on his sleigh and received the key of the hearts of metro Detroit children from mayor Kilpatrick.

Brian Alexander and Jessi Palter performed "Santa Claus is Coming To Town" on stage prior to the big guy in the red suit made his arrival.

One difference this year -- Santa's Sleigh was sponsored by General Motors Corporation. In past years, it was always sponsored by Ford Motor Company. GM incorporated OnStar into its sponsorship of the float. There was a little skit portraying Santa when he lost his keys to the sleigh. After he pressed the OnStar button someone was able to locate his keys and the parade was able to go on.

We had a great time at America's Thanksgiving Parade this year. It was nice to meet so many of you who came to see the parade. If we interviewed you on video, click here to see it. We'll be adding more videos all week long so keep checking back!

Special thanks to Universal Music for providing us with copies of The Eagles' latest single "How Long" for giveaway. Thanks to The Parade Company and Lovio George Inc. for allowing us to cover the parade and interview everyone on Woodward Avenue.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

The Mid American Pom Pon All-Star Team passes by The Fox Theatre in Detroit.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Brian Alexander and Jessi Palter perform "Santa Claus is Coming to Town"

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Santa Claus waves to all the children during the parade from his sleigh sponsored by General Motors.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Santa receives the key to the hearts of Metro Detroit children from Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

 

[ Return to our coverage of the 2007 America's Thanksgiving Parade ]

 

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Copyright © 2007 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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