Can’t-Miss Thanksgiving Day Parades

The holidays are almost here, and like every year, loads of festivities are in the offing. If you’ve never witnessed a Thanksgiving parade in person, or haven’t done so in a while, you won’t want to miss out on those set to kick off the holiday season in 2009. Parades have remained a fixture of the holiday season for decades, attracting hordes of on-street spectators and engaging millions of TV viewers worldwide. They simply have it all: marching bands belting out holiday tunes, countless balloons released into the sky, unique floats of varying sizes decked out in different colors. These spectacles, no doubt, are a treat for the eyes and ears, whether you’re tuning in from home or cheering on from the sidelines. If you’re looking to get in on the fun and celebration, check out some of this year’s can’t miss Thanksgiving parades:

New York City:With more than 3 million spectators expected to the line the streets of New York City for the 83rd Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, as well as 50 million expected to watch it on TV, this three-hour event is hands down the biggest, most prestigious parade in the nation. Like every year, it is expected to feature helium-contained, animal-shaped balloons, floats and marching bands galore. The parade will begin at 77th Street and Central Park West and end at 7th Avenue and 34th street, marking a 2.65 mile stretch.  Scheduled to begin at 9 a.m., this year’s march will be the first ever in the parade’s 82 year history to bypass Broadway.

If you can’t make it to New York City for Thanksgiving, don’t despair. Other major cities throughout the country play host to popular Thanksgiving parades, including:

Miami:If you’re looking to ring in the holiday season in sunny South Florida, consider being on hand for the Winternational Thanksgiving Day Parade, which marches each year along Northeast 125th Street between 6th and 12th Avenues. The annual celebration entertains spectators with close to 100 colorful floats and marching bands. The event also includes a carnival, exciting rides and live music. While other cities nationwide are already starting to experience freezing temperatures, Miami’s tropical climate will make for warm fun this holiday season.

Chicago:The Windy City might be a lot colder than, say, Miami on Thanksgiving weekend, but don’t let that deter you from heading to State Street and witnessing the 76th Annual McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade, which travels from Congress Parkway to Randolph Street. While the turnout is expected to be nothing like that of New York City’s Macy’s parade, approximately 425,000 on-street spectators will be present to gaze out on helium balloons, local and national celebrities, and award-winning marching bands. Bring your sweater and bask in the holiday excitement Chicago-style.

San Diego: Locals and out-of-towners alike would agree that the Annual Mother Goose Parade – scheduled for Sunday, November 22 this year – marks the start of the holiday season in San Diego. The largest parade in San Diego County, the event attracts droves of spectators to the streets of El Cajon. Featuring everything from helium balloons and animated clowns to impressive floats that come in all shapes and sizes, the Mother Goose Parade brings people of all ages together for a fun-filled day of free family entertainment.

Phoenix: If you’re traveling to the Valley of the Sun for Turkey Day Weekend, don’t miss the Fountain Hills Thanksgiving Parade. Boasting the world’s fourth tallest fountain, the hilly town of Fountain Hills offers a marvelous backdrop for what is known as the only Thanksgiving Day Parade held in Arizona. Families will enjoy watching large floats and marching bands as they maneuver their way through the downtown area.

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