Before you sit down for a turkey feast with family and friends, get in the holiday spirit at a Thanksgiving Day parade complete with giant balloons, festive floats and marching bands.
Giant balloon puppets like Spiderman debuted at the <a title="Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade" href="http://www.travelchannel.com/video/macys-first-balloons" target="_blank">Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade</a> back in 1927. Today, the 87th annual event is one of the oldest Thanksgiving Day parades in the US.
Santa Claus rides on his sleigh down Central Park West during the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade in NYC. St. Nick’s arrival at the parade's grand finale signals the official season's start to <a title="Christmas in NYC" href="http://www.travelchannel.com/interests/holidays/photos/christmas-in-nyc" target="_blank">Christmas in NYC</a>.
Participants strike a pose in Houston's annual Thanksgiving celebration, which we’ve voted among the <a title="top Thanksgiving Day parades" href="http://www.travelchannel.com/interests/holidays/articles/top-5-thanksgiving-parades" target="_blank">top Thanksgiving Day parades</a>. Now 64 years strong, the parade gets a makeover in 2013, with renewed focus on everything from fashion, food and heroes; to culture, sports and talent.
Make it a long <a title="weekend in Chicago" href="http://www.travelchannel.com/interests/girl-getaways/articles/chicago-weekend-guide" target="_blank">weekend in Chicago</a>, while checking out "Chicago's Grand Holiday Tradition," now in its 80th year. You just may see Teddy Turkey strut his stuff; he's been the parade mascot since 2009.
Giant balloons float above the street during Detroit's annual America's Thanksgiving Parade, which shares the title of second-oldest Thanksgiving parade (alongside the Macy's parade). Plus, check out our own Andrew Zimmern's <a title=" Detroit-inspired pumpkin pie" href="http://www.travelchannel.com/tv-shows/bizarre-foods/articles/detroit-inspired-pumpkin-pie" target="_blank">Detroit-inspired pumpkin pie</a>!
Yep, that is "Carrousel" with 2 r's. Founded in 1947, this parade through <a title="Charlotte, NC" href="http://www.travelchannel.com/destinations/north-carolina/articles/charlotte-city-guide" target="_blank">Charlotte, NC</a>, is the fourth-largest in America, with an estimated 100,000 spectators. In 2013, though, it didn't look like the parade would happen, until a corporate sponsor stepped in and saved the day.
So what is the nation’s oldest Thanksgiving parade? Head to <a title="Philadelphia" href="http://www.travelchannel.com/interests/girl-getaways/articles/philadelphia-weekend-guide" target="_blank">Philadelphia</a> to find out! The 1.4-mile 6ABC Dunkin' Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade started in 1920, sponsored by a popular department store of the day.
Upping the ante, America’s Hometown Parade, in Plymouth, MA, bills itself as “America’s only historically accurate, chronological parade.” Inspired by the Pilgrims’ establishment of <a title="Plymouth Colony" href="http://www.travelchannel.com/destinations/united-states/photos/50-states-50-landmarks?page=6" target="_blank">Plymouth Colony</a>, the parade foregoes giant balloons of popular characters for parade features based on the history of the US, from the 1600s up to the 2000s, with a Santa Claus float at the end.
It’s not just NYC that has a Macy’s Day Parade, The Emerald City does, too. Grab your hat and coat (it’s forecast to rain) and head to <a title="Seattle" href="http://www.travelchannel.com/tv-shows/the-layover/travel-guides/36-hours-in-seattle" target="_blank">Seattle</a> for the city’s annual Thanksgiving parade. See more than 20 balloon floats, 600 costumed characters, local marching bands and some adorable St. Bernards.
In 2013, this St. Louis Thanksgiving parade celebrates its 29th year. Featuring over 130 parade units, the Ameren Missouri Thanksgiving Day Parade starts in downtown St. Louis and concludes on 10th Street; you’ll see why <a title="St. Louis" href="http://www.travelchannel.com/video/st-louis-is-an-all-american-town-11460" target="_blank">St. Louis</a> truly is an all-American town.