– 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.
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
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
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
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 theparade.org
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.
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.
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 AmericaJR.com! We'll see you on Woodward