America’s Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit

Families can line historical Woodward Avenue Nov. 26, 2015, to see America's 89th annual Thanksgiving Parade in downtown Detroit.


Grab your mittens and knit caps and take to Woodward Avenue Thanksgiving morning, Nov. 26, 2015, to witness America’s Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit.


The 89th annual procession through the city’s downtown – this year presented by Art Van Furniture and promising a “So Happy Together” theme – is renowned for warming hearts prior to the carving of succulent birds. But the fun is not restricted to Detroiters. While bundled parade-goers will congregate on the historical street, the procession will be featured on WDIV-TV Local 4 starting at 10 a.m., as well as News/Talk 760 WJR, and reach more than 150 cities nationwide through a one-hour national televised broadcast.

Before the step off, the Strategic Staffing Solutions Turkey Trot takes place down Woodward Avenue. Runners can now register online.

Then, the Tony Award-winning musical cast from Jersey Boys precedes the procession with a live performance. Other musical talent, like Motown Records’ group The Contours will be sprinkled throughout the two-hour shebang.

The march begins at 8:50 a.m. at the corner of Woodward Avenue and Kirby Street and ends south of Campus Martius Park near the 160-foot-tall Christmas tree downtown.

The Parade Company boasts an impressive celebrity lineup, featuring native Michigander and comedian Tim Allen as grand marshal, and Stephen Henderson, Pulitzer Prize-winner and Detroit Free Press editorial page editor, as honorary grand marshal. U.S. women’s soccer stars Crystal Dunn and Ali Krieger, former Detroit Tiger Willie Horton, Run-D.M.C’s Darryl McDaniels and Access Hollywood reporter Liz Hernandez will also make appearances. Celebrities your children are more likely to rave about, such as Kung Fu Panda, PAWS, the Detroit Tigers’ official mascot, and others can be spotted among the marchers, too.

As always, the Big Head Corps are back, and this year, there will be a papier-mâché head to commemorate the late Saturday Night Live personality and Detroit native Gilda Radner, which will join more than 180 big bobbing heads – plus five new floats and a mystery float.

It’s worth braving the cold for this Thanksgiving parade, one of the largest in the nation. You won’t want to miss out on the marching bands, splendiferously decked out floats and the beloved clowns that compose the Distinguished Clown Corps. The guest of honor, Mr. Santa Claus himself, will bring up the rear in his shiny red sleigh.

The parade is free to the public, but grandstand seats are $40 a piece. Step off is at 8:50 a.m., sharp, and the procession averages about two hours.

Looking for more details on 2015’s America’s Thanksgiving Parade in downtown Detroit? Get the scoop in the Metro Parent calendar.


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