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Is America's Thanksgiving Parade Your Favorite Big Event in Detroit Each Year?




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America's Thanksgiving Parade: 2007 Parade Preview

by Jason Rzucidlo



DETROIT – This year, America's Thanksgiving Parade celebrates 81 years of making magic and memories for children and adults of all ages along in downtown Detroit. The parade begins at the intersection of Woodward and Mack and travels south on Woodward to Congress on Thursday at 9:30 a.m.

Parade goers will see 12 marching bands, 12 larger-than-life balloons, 26 papier-mache heads, 28 floats and 301 clowns during America's Thanksgiving Parade. A total of 4,500 volunteers will ensure that everything goes without a hitch. Detroit's parade is the largest distributor of beads in any one day -- 300,000 beads will be passed out during the event. A total of 6,924 grandstand seats will be available for those who want to get the first hand experience of the parade.

"The Parade Company is celebrating 81 years of Parade tradition in Detroit," said Joan LeMahieu, President of The Parade Company. "It is magnificent to be part of bringing together the entire community to share in the magic on Woodward Avenue and celebrating the exceptional success of this great city."

If you are planning on attending the parade, please arrive early! Snow showers are expected during the entire parade. Temperatures will be at 36 degrees during the beginning of the parade and will remain the same at the end. The wind chill will make it feel like only 25 degrees. Dress warmly and plan for an extra hour of travel time.

The theme for this year's parade is "Hats Off Detroit." Parade goers are encouraged to bring a new or gently used hat to the event and donate it to The Lighthouse of Oakland County, COTS and Grace Centers of Hope. Volunteers will collect and fill the hats into the VIA Rail circus train along the parade route. A hat design contest was held with The Parade Company to find the Warmest Hat, Detroit Hat, Favorite Parade Memory Hat, Biggest Spors Fan Hat and Thanksgiving Hat. Winners from all those categories will ride on a float during America's Thanksgiving Parade.

A long list of celebrities will be a part of the parade this Thanksgiving. First, the grand marshal will be Mickey Mouse. Detroit Tigers pitcher Nate Robertson will serve as co-grand marshal. Michelle Ray Smith, who plays Ava Peralta on the CBS sitcom Guiding Light, will be appearing during the parade. Chloe Greenfield, who plays Sarah on ER and Lily in the movie 8 Mile will be riding along on one of the floats.

Pop star Paula DeAnda, best known for her hit single "Walk Away (Remember Me)" will appear during America's Thanksgiving Parade. Children TV stars, My Bedbugs will be riding on their float during the parade. Alvin and the Chipmunks will also be 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 riding on his sleigh and make his grand entrance to Detroit.

Seven new floats, balloons and specialty units will be added to the parade for the first time ever. Big Boy Restaurants is sponsoring a new float titled "It's a Michigan Thing." A "Half Pipe" float will have professional skateboarders doing stunts during the parade from Modern Skate and Surf. Bank of America / LaSalle is sponsoring a new float called "Celebrate The Season of Giving."

Two Detroit students had the opportunity to design a float and a balloon. They were entered into a contest that was sponsored by The Skillman Foundation. The winning float is "The Dancing Flower Garden" by Guadalupe Barrera, an 8th grade student from Clippert Academy. The winning balloon is "Sunflower from the Community Garden" by Kenyatta Dearing, a 4th grade student from Fleming Academy. Both students will see their designs come to life during America's Thanksgiving Parade this Thursday.

Also new to the parade is the world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales team. The "501st Legion: Michigan Squad" will also greet fans during the parade to share the magic of Star Wars. "Michigan Wheelmen" will make their way down Woodward Avenue in their cycles from 1918 or before to encourage the use of cycles in modern living. The Red Hat ladies will perform "The Cupid Shuffle" during the parade.

A competition was held to determine the best high school marching bands from Detroit Public Schools. Six bands were narrowed down to three and the winners are... Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School, Cass Technical High School and Mumford High School. Those bands will join nine other bands in performing at America's Thanksgiving Parade.

For the first time ever, parade goers can purchase their parking for America's Thanksgiving Parade in advance online to guarantee their spot. To purchase pre-paid parking, visit or You will need to print off an e-Permit that includes a barcode for entrance to the parking lot you selected. Pre-paid parking is available only for a limited time. It will cease on Thursday at 7:00 a.m.

For your security, police officers will be stationed along Woodward Avenue for assistance. Portable restrooms will also be set up along the parade route. Medical stations will be available to those who need them. Handicap accessible viewing is available. If you would like to take advantage of the handicap viewing, you are encourage to call Jennifer at (313) 923-7402.

The 5th Annual Mashed Potato Mile will take place at 7:30 a.m. It is a one-mile walk/run that allows participants to take part in the same magic that over 7,000 runniers will experience during the Turkey Trot. The 25th Annual Turkey Trot and 2nd Annual Stuffing Strut will begin at 8:00 a.m. The Turkey Trot is a 10K run while the Stuffing Strut is a 5K run. Both will start and finish at Cobo Center in downtown Detroit. Runners are encouraged to wear their decorative hats. Judges will award prizes to the most creative costume and hat, beginning at 7:15 a.m.

America's Thanksgiving Parade will be broadcast LIVE on WDIV Local 4 from 9 a.m. to Noon. The Parade will be syndicated to over 280 markets with a viewing audience of over 102 million households. You can listen to the parade on News/Talk 760 WJR from 10 a.m. to Noon.

Click here to download a copy of the parade route (PDF). will be 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! We'll see you on Woodward Avenue...

PHOTO COURTESY OF Lovio|George|Inc. / The Parade Company

Detroit Tigers Pitcher Nate Robertson will be the Co-Grand Marshal.


PHOTO COURTESY OF Lovio|George|Inc. / The Parade Company

Soap Star and Model Michelle Ray Smith will make an appearance at the parade.


PHOTO COURTESY OF Lovio|George|Inc. / The Parade Company

R&B sensation Paula DeAnda will appear during the parade.


PHOTO COURTESY OF Lovio|George|Inc. / The Parade Company

Children's TV stars My BedBugs will be riding on one of the floats during the parade.


PHOTO COURTESY OF Lovio|George|Inc. / The Parade Company

Alvin and the Chipmunks will appear during America's Thanksgiving Parade.


PHOTO COURTESY OF Lovio|George|Inc. / The Parade Company

Santa Claus will greet children at the end of the parade.


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Copyright © 2007 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.