8 Thanksgiving Parades, Ranked

Posted Nov 28th 2013 08:47 AMUpdated Nov 28th 2013 08:55 AM


Thanskgiving parade on Broadway, New York, with balloon with animal shapes, illustration by Damblans from french paper 'Le Peler
In terms of Thanksgiving traditions, taking in a parade is right up there with eating turkey, watching football and grimacing as a distant relative drinks too much and drops an off-color joke in front of the kids table.

Here are America's top eight Thanksgiving parades, ranked.

8. Chicago: McDonald's Thanksgiving Day Parade

There's a time and a place for McDonald's. And it's not Thanksgiving.

7. Charlotte: Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade

This parade through Uptown Charlotte will be overhauled this year with "new-look floats." But none other than President George Washington once called Charlotte, "a trifling place." So there's that.

The Parade Company
6. Detroit: America's Thanksgiving Day Parade

The theme for this year's parade is "Downtown Our Town." Fair enough, given the year Detroit's had. But this logo (right) and its creepy clown is not going to help the proud city's image any:

5. El Paso: FirstLight Federal Credit Union Sun Bowl Parade

The Sun Bowl isn't until Dec. 31, but the game's parade is held on Thanksgiving. Five weeks to pre-party for a bowl game featuring, at best, the fourth best team in the Pac-12 taking on the loser of the ACC Championship game? This much enthusiasm for college football deserves to be acknowledged.

4. New York: Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Pro: Watched by more than 3.5 million spectators in person and 50 million on TV, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is the most celebrated of all the Thanksgiving parades. Con: Matt Lauer's co-hosting it for NBC, and he was very mean to Ann Curry last year.

3. St. Louis: Ameren Missouri Thanksgiving Day Parade

The grand marshal of the 29th annual parade is artist Mary Engelbreit. This much enthusiasm for art deserves to be acknowledged.

2. Philadelphia: 6ABC Dunkin' Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade

Pro: It's the oldest Thanksgiving Day parade in the country. Con: Which means it's the only one with time to add two corporate sponsors to its name.

1. Plymouth, Massachusetts: America's Hometown Thanksgiving Parade

Plymouth holds its parade, "one of America's only historically accurate chronological parades," the weekend before Thanksgiving. But as it was the host city for the first Thanksgiving feast, it's entitled to hold the parade whenever it wants.
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Phyllis Bailey-Ander

I've been volunteering for the past 10 years to help produce this event. It is a community effort supported completely by local individuals and businesses. The committee that plans and impliments this three day event are a band of volunteers who have nothing to gain monitarily from this.. Our mission is to educate the public while preserving our country’s important history, starting with the Pilgrim legacy and Thanksgiving story while recognizing all those who have fought to protect the American way of life. Through concerts honoring military sacrifice and a parade chronicling the Pilgrim legacy, spectators leave with a sense of history and pride.

. For 18 years, hundreds of thousands of people from all walks of life have traveled to the historic Plymouth Harbor and Waterfront to experience a bounty of authentic Americana. The celebration of Thanksgiving becomes history-brought-to-life as Pilgrims, Native Americans, Soldiers, Patriots, and Pioneers proudly climb out of the history books and onto the streets of Plymouth.
I urge you to make plans to attend next year. It is always the weekend before thanksgiving. A retired plymouth, Ma. resident.

December 01 2013 at 3:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

All I can say about . the Plymouth parade, Love it! I've been a participant for eight years. People are so warm and appreciative. It doesn't matter how cold the weather, the parade route is always packed with spectators. This is where it all began. Francine from CT

November 29 2013 at 9:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply