Today is the 84th Annual Thanksgiving Parade down Woodward Avenue in Detroit MI. Originally the J.L. Hudson's Thanksgiving Parade, it is one of the largest Thanksgiving parades in the United States.
After Hudson's left Detroit, the Thanksgiving Parade was almost doomed to extinction due to lost sponsorship. But former Michigan First Lady Paula Blanchard Stone, along with Art Van Elslander, founder of Michigan-based Art Van Furniture, stepped in to form the Michigan Parade Foundation and save the Detroit Thanksgiving Parade.
Today, the America's Thanksgiving Parade has scores of local and national sponsors and can be viewed every Thanksgiving morning all over America.
In addition to the big and beautiful balloons and exquisite floats, the Parade includes special groups and activities that help with funding and scholarships through and for the Michigan Parade Foundation:
- The Hob Nobble Gobble: an evening of fun, dinner, artists--black tie now held at Ford Field.
- The Distinguished Clown Corps: businesses and individuals pay a sponsorship fee to appear as clowns in the Parade.
- The 5K Turkey Trot: run early Thanksgiving morning; most runners accept donations for the Parade Foundation.
- The Big Head Corps: similar to the Distinguished Clowns, people again pay sponsorship fees to walk the parade in those huge papier mache heads.
The Parade ends every year with an appearance by Santa himself, who is given a key from the current Detroit Mayor to the City of Detroit and to the hearts of every child in the metro Detroit Area.