– 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.
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
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
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
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.
and Jessi Palter performed "Santa Claus is Coming To
Town" on stage prior to the big guy in the red suit made
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!
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.