America's Largest Thanksgiving Parades

By John Misachi on October 10 2017 in Society

New York's Thanksgiving Day Parade is the busiest in the country. Photo credit: Alexiuz /
New York's Thanksgiving Day Parade is the busiest in the country. Photo credit: Alexiuz /

Thanksgiving Day is a special holiday in America that is observed on the fourth Thursday of every November. On this day, Americans give thanks for the blessings of the preceding year. Thanksgiving is never complete without a well-prepared turkey for dinner. Before Thanksgiving dinner, there is often a Thanksgiving parade. The parade marks the climax of the holiday, often complete with giant balloons, marching bands, and festive floats among other things. If you are in the USA and wondering how to celebrate the coming Thanksgiving holiday, why not consider the following Thanksgiving parades.

10. Chicago

Chicago’s McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade starts from Congress to the Randolph down the State Street. The march starts at 8 am with a crew of elephants leading the way. There are also familiar faces on the ground and some hovering above the ground with floats and balloons with images of children’s favorite characters such as Big Bird and Cookie Monster among other famous characters. There are also dozens of clowns who march alongside the familiar faces. The McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade is often broadcasted on national television for those who cannot join the live parade.

9. Detroit

The Detroit Thanksgiving parade kicks off from Woodward Avenue and proceeds towards Congress with spectators lining up to enjoy the colorful displays of art and talent. The parade is characterized by a giant helium balloon and floats, but the crowd’s favorite is the “Big Heads” that look like walking bobblehead with costumes celebrating funny animals, culture, and even important people in the history of America. Spectators also have an opportunity to sign up for a pre-parade road race.

8. Philadelphia

Dunkin’ Donuts Thanksgiving Parade in Philadelphia is the oldest Thanksgiving Parade in America. Since 1920, Philadelphia has celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday with an assortment of activities including festive floats, marching bands, and a host of other performances including choir. The march starts at 20th Street and JFK Boulevard and passes several parks and buildings which provided vantage points for spectators before concluding at the Philadelphian Museum of Art at around noon. The museum gives a view straight the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and is one of the best places to watch the parade.

7. Houston

Houston’s Annual H-E-B Thanksgiving Parade has been drawing thousands of spectators to the streets of Houston for over 60 years. The parade begins at 9 am on the Thanksgiving morning at Smith and Lamar Street and marches around downtown Houston with live bands, cheerleaders, giant balloons, and decorated floats. Santa Claus may also make an early appearance during the parade. More than 400,000 spectators line the Southwestern city streets to enjoy the colorful art and performance. The march ends at Smith and Dallas Street, just a few blocks from where it started. The parade has been voted among the top Thanksgiving Parades.

6. Charlotte

Since 1947, Charlotte has celebrated the Novant Health Thanksgiving Day parade. The Carrousel Parade is sponsored by a health company and attracts over 100,000 spectators. The march takes place along Tyron Street through the Uptown Charlotte. The major attractions include impressive marching bands, festive floats, and balloons. The parade also includes a performance by known celebrities with dignitaries also joining the march. Recently, a ground-level balloon built over Segway scooter was added to the parade. The large balloons were developed because light poles on the parade route would have interfered with larger, floating balloons.

5. St. Louis

The Ameren Thanksgiving Day Parade in St. Louis has been celebrated for over 30 years. During the parade, revelers have an opportunity to enjoy listening to the sounds of marching bands as they marvel at the majestic floats such as the larger version Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph floating overhead. Santa Claus has also made a frequent appearance at the parade, wishing everyone a Merry Christmas at the end of the parade. The march starts at Washington Avenue and 45th Street and proceeds to downtown St. Louis.

4. Plymouth

The Thanksgiving holiday originated from Plymouth. The town celebrates the holiday with a massive parade known as America’s Hometown Thanksgiving Parade. The parade activities stretch over the weekend before the official Turkey Day and honoring of the pilgrims and the earliest America’s settlers. The parade takes place along the waterfront area, kicking off around 10 am. It offers a sequential look at the history and heritage of America from the 17th century to present times. Several musicians offer soundtracks while the military band also forms part of the entertainment. The event kicks off with a military flyover.

3. Seattle

The Seattle Thanksgiving Parade known as My Macy’s Thanksgiving Holiday Parade is not the same as the New York’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The Seattle parade is particularly popular since it takes place a day after the Thanksgiving in West Seattle. It features 25 inflated floats, hundreds of costumed characters, and several marching bands among other performers. The march kicks off at 7th Avenue and Pine Street at about 9 am and it lasts about four hours. Revelers usually crowd the Westlake Center for the best view.

2. Portland

Portland, Oregon, also has a Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade known as the My Macy’s Portland Holiday Parade. Like the Thanksgiving Parade in Seattle, the parade in Portland takes place a day after the Thanksgiving Holiday. It kicks off at 9 am and it features several entertainments including inflatable floats, marching bands, and costumed characters. Some of the popular floats at the parade include Daisy the Doodlebug, gingerbread house, and a beautiful princess riding on a snow globe float.

1. New York

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on the street of New York is the largest Thanksgiving parade in America. More than three million spectators crowd the street to witness of the various activities of the Thanksgiving parade while another over 40 million people across the country gather around their televisions to capture the magic of the parade. The parade is characterized by large balloons including Snoopy and Kermit the Frog. There are also festive floats and clowned characters that form the band. The parade starts at 77th Street and Central Park and marches through the Upper West Side before ending at 34th Street and 7th Avenue.

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