America's Thanksgiving Parade

Happy Thanksgiving, all!

Everyone knows about Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in Manhattan, but did you know about another fantastic parade that happens in Detroit, too? I've spent many Thanksgiving mornings experiencing it live, but this year I decided to learn some things about it instead, while watching the coverage on TV (it's really cold!).

Here's a brief highlight of its history via the Walter P. Reuther Library blog:

This Thanksgiving marks the 84th anniversary of a Detroit favorite now known as America’s Thanksgiving Parade. The parade was started in 1924 by Charles Wendel, the display manager of the J.L. Hudson Company department store on Woodward Avenue. Along with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, which was founded the same year, Hudson’s Thanksgiving parade was one of the first of its kind in the United States.

Inspired in part by European carnivals, the parade featured large papier-mâché heads imported from Italy, floats depicting nursery rhymes, and bands marching down Woodward Avenue. Since his first appearance in 1925, Santa Claus has remained a staple of the parade.

...The Michigan Thanksgiving Parade Foundation was established in 1982 to support the parade, which is now managed by The Parade Company.

The Parade Company creates all of the floats and balloons from scratch! It's a year-long process for the staff and 1500 volunteers (plus another 3000 volunteers the week of), culminating in a spectacular 2-hour 1.5-mile walk down Woodward Avenue.

Thanks, Detroit, for brightening our Thanksgiving mornings for 84 years!

[images via Virtual Motor City & The Parade Company]

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