The number one place to be for a traditional Thanksgiving celebration is a lavish colorful parade. No matter what part of the country you’re in this Thanksgiving, you can find a cultural parade loaded with dazzling marching bands and vibrant floats.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, New York City
The number one parade to be at is in New York City for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. Although not the oldest Thanksgiving parade (it is joint-second oldest), it has become the biggest and most popular and been entertaining people since 1927. Many of the first employees of Macy’s were immigrants. They wanted to celebrate becoming American citizens in the festive fashion their parents celebrated back home in Europe. This parade is viewed by more than 44 million people either in person or on television. Children and adults alike are mesmerized with the colorful floats, bigger than life helium balloons, marching bands, lively entertainment and most of all the arrival of Santa Claus.
America’s Hometown Parade, Plymouth, MA
If you arrive on the east coast the Saturday before Thanksgiving, travel to Plymouth, MA which is the historic site of the first Thanksgiving feast in 1620, to see America’s Hometown Thanksgiving Parade. Be a part of the tradition of donating non-perishable foods carried on a 36 foot float that in turn donates the food to needy families for their holiday meal. See the traditional chronological line-up of events in American history.
6abc Dunkin Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade, Philadelphia, PA
You don’t have to travel far on the east coast to get to Philadelphia for the 6abc Dunkin Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade, the oldest Thanksgiving celebration parade in the USA, which has been held annually since 1920 and which was originally called the Gimbels Thanksgiving Day Parade.
My Macy’s Holiday Parade, Pittsburgh, PA
Still in Pennsylvania, but traveling westward you will be able to view a parade on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. This parade was first organized in 1980 to get a break from all the overeating, football and shopping to still enjoy the festive side of the holiday. Sponsored by Macy’s after their merge with Kaufman’s host the popular WPXI float with all their personalities and famous celebrities that entertain the viewers.
America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Detroit, MI
If you’re traveling to the Midwest the America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is second to the Macy’s parade and held in Detroit, Michigan. Once called the J. L. Hudson parade in 1924, the parade still offers all the trappings of a true Thanksgiving celebration and is the joint-second oldest in the US. The idea for the parade came from Hudson’s display director after viewing the Canadian Eaton’s Santa Claus Parade in Toronto. The stand-out attractions of the parade are gigantic papier-mâché heads that were fashioned like ones he had seen in Europe. These Italian crafted heads are still part of the parade today.
McDonald’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Chicago, IL
The windy city of Chicago also offers parade viewers a festive showing of bands, floats and gigantic balloons with the McDonald’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. They have been entertaining parade-goers since 1934. The parade idea was proposed by the city the city council to Mayor Edward Kelly in hopes of lifting the poor economy after the Great Depression. Although a success that year, in 1935 the city’s trolleys had to pull the floats to keep the parade going.
Belk’s Carolina’s Carousel Parade, Charlotte, NC
Now, no matter what part of the country you’re in, Thanksgiving Day parades are vry much part of the day’s celebrations. Travel to the south and Charlotte, NC boasts to hold the best parade in the south and the fourth largest parade in the country. Although the large helium balloons are missing, over 100,000 spectators and 200,000 television viewers have enjoyed this celebration since 1947.
By Julie Bowman