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Historic Turkey Trots: 5 Thanksgiving Parades with History

Historic Turkey Trots: 5 Thanksgiving Parades with History

Football, family, friends and a whole lot of dishes and
dressings are what make Thanksgiving Day across the country. And as most of the
population settles in for a day of eating, tossing around the old pigskin and
gatherings with family, the day would not be complete without a little parading
and promenading. Parades and Thanksgiving go hand in hand, many with a history
stretching back decades. Here are five Thanksgiving parades with a dash of history
thrown into the gravy.

Philadelphia
Thanksgiving Day Parade:
Officially titled the Dunkin’ Donuts Thanksgiving
Day Parade, the Philadelphia promenade is the oldest in the country. The parade
began in 1920 when Gimbel Brothers Department Store wanted to put on a parade
for the residents and children of the city. The nation’s oldest parade runs for
1.4 miles and features massive floats, balloons and local performers. It is
always held on Thanksgiving Day. This year, the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade
celebrates 95 years.

America’s
Thanksgiving Parade:
Borrowing from Gimbel Brothers Department Store in
Philadelphia, department store J.L. Hudson’s in Detroit wanted a piece of the
Thanksgiving Day parade pie too. In 1924, America’s Thanksgiving Parade was
launched in Detroit, making it a tie with Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New
York for the second oldest in the nation. Put on by the Parade Company, the
parade begins at Woodward Avenue and Kirby and ends at Woodward Avenue and
Congress in downtown Detroit. One of the main features of this Thanksgiving
parade is its papier-mâché heads, a tradition since its inception.

Macy’s Thanksgiving
Day Parade:
The big cheese of Thanksgiving Day parades needs no
introduction. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City has been a tradition
since 1924. The first parade was called Macy’s Christmas Parade. It was the
work of Macy’s employees and featured animals from the Central Park Zoo. The
parade was such a hit that Macy’s declared it would be back each year. By 1927,
Macy’s would debut its signature inflatable balloons. Today’s Macy’s
Thanksgiving Day Parade is an over-the-top event of giant balloons, one of a
kind floats and performances. More than 3.5 million gather in New York to watch
and 50 million tune in at home.

McDonald’s
Thanksgiving Parade:
It has been a tradition in Chicago not for years, but
rather decades to host a Thanksgiving Day parade. The first was called
Christmas Caravan in the 1930s. It was aimed at lifting the spirits of the city
during the Great Depression. Today it has become a full-scale holiday
celebration with giant balloons, floats and marching bands. The parade route
follows historic State Street in downtown Chicago. Travelers should be sure to
spot the parade’s mascot, Teddy the Turkey.

America’s Hometown Parade:
While only 18 years running, America’s Hometown Parade in Plymouth,
Massachusetts boasts a different kind of historical Thanksgiving parade. Touted
as “America’s only historically accurate chronological parade,” the event  uses decorated floats and re-enactment units
to go through U.S. history from the 17th century to present day.
Since Plymouth played a role in the pilgrim’s settlement, the town comes alive
for the event, all while maintaining historical accuracy.

 

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