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Thanksgiving Day Parades


Thanksgiving is a major holiday in the US: airports are jammed, as families cross the country to gather and share turkey dinner. Thanksgiving Day parades are another tradition: several cities stage them (most notably, New York City's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade); huge crowds line the parade routes, and millions more people watch on tv. Thanksgiving weekend also starts the Christmas / Holiday Season, and a highlight of each Thanksgiving Day parade is a grand finale appearance by Santa Claus.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade - New York City

Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, in NYC. Photo courtesy of NYC & Co.
Photo courtesy of NYC & Co.

The Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is the most famous Thanksgiving Day parade in the US and an iconic event, widely broadcast and viewed by millions in addition to the huge crowds lining its route.

6ABC IKEA Thanksgiving Day Parade - Philadelphia

Thanksgiving Day Parade, Philadelphia - Photo courtesy of 6ABC/WPVI.
Photo courtesy of 6ABC/WPVI.

Dating back to 1920, this is the oldest Thanksgiving parade in the US and started as the "Gimbel's Thanksgiving Day Parade", named for Gimbel's department stores. Nowadays Swedish furniture giant IKEA is the sponsor, along with Philadelphia's Channel 6ABC. Look for giant balloons, floats, dance teams, celebrity entertainers, and Santa Claus.

America's Thanksgiving Parade - Detroit

Tied with Macy's for second-oldest Thanksgiving Day Parade in the US, this event dates back to 1924 and has had several sponsors and names over the years. The parade takes place in downtown Detroit, and has balloons, floats, clowns, bands and an appearance by Santa Claus. Preshow has musical entertainment. Check for web site for opportunities to buy grandstand seats.

McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade - Chicago

This parade started as a Christmas parade during the Great Depression, in 1934. The parade features: Tommy Turkey mascot; floats, marching bands, clowns; equestrian units; dance groups and sports teams; Ronald McDonald, and Santa Claus. Giant character balloons have been a highlight since 1998.

Macy's Holiday Parade at Universal Orlando

Macy's Holiday Parade at Universal Orlando - Photo courtesy of Universal Orlando
Photo courtesy of Universal Orlando.

Families have multiple opportunities to see this re-creation of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade: at one of Universal Orlando's theme parks, this parade happens every evening at sunset from early December through January 1, with authentic giant balloons and floats from the famous parade in New York.

*Always check event web sites for updates!

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