Sunday, November 20, 2011


   The theme for the 85th America’s Thanksgiving Parade® is So Much To Believe In. The theme chosen by The Parade Company, expresses that there is so much to believe in for our great State of Michigan and Detroit!
   America’s Thanksgiving Parade®, one of the country’s oldest and most celebrated Parades, will step off at 9:20 a.m. on Woodward Avenue and Mack and end at Woodward Avenue and Congress in downtown Detroit on Thursday, November 24, 2011. Hundreds of thousands of parade-goers will be watching as the Parade makes its way down Woodward Avenue. The parade will be broadcast LIVE on WDIV Local 4 and on WJR 760 AM.

The Michigan Thanksgiving Parade Foundation
   The Michigan Thanksgiving Parade Foundation was founded in 1982 for the purpose of staging and perpetuating America’s Thanksgiving Parade®, Michigan’s grandest and most cherished civic event. It is governed by key civic and corporate leaders representing the primary industrial, retail, automotive and institutional organizations that define the greater Detroit community. Their active involvement ensures that America’s Thanksgiving Parade® remains a vital part of metropolitan Detroit’s cultural community.
   The Michigan Thanksgiving Parade Foundation also includes a volunteer corps of 1,500. These dedicated individuals contribute to the staging of America’s Thanksgiving Parade®, under the supervision of Michigan’s Thanksgiving Parade Foundation and a full-time management staff of event, marketing, and creative professionals.
   The Michigan Thanksgiving Parade, now known as America’s Thanksgiving Parade®, was founded in 1924. For more than 75 years, The Parade has been a one-of-a-kind spectacle of fantasy, holiday spirit and community enthusiasm. The Parade has grown to include more than 75 parade units, including floats, balloons and marching bands in procession.

   America’s Thanksgiving Parade® is Detroit’s most visible civic event, a positive demonstration of the best this community has to offer to its people and the greater American community. Exceptional curbside attendance as well as extensive “live” radio and television coverage, on a regional and national level, combine to create unparalleled marketing and promotional exposure for the City of Detroit.
    In an effort to expand the reach and impact of America’s Thanksgiving Parade®, The Michigan Thanksgiving Parade Foundation also has produced a variety of auxiliary fundraising and community outreach events including Hob Nobble Gobble®, a spectacular black-tie fundraising event; the International Freedom Festival, a celebration of Canadian and American friendship; the 1997, 1998, 2002 & 2008 Red Wings Victory Parades; The 1998 University of Michigan Rose Bowl Victory Parade; the 1999 Big Balloon Parade staged in Green Bay, Wisconsin; and The Parade Company assisted Australia with their Centenary of Federation Parade on January 1, 2001.

Big Head Corps

   America’s Thanksgiving Parade®, produced by The Parade Company, has become a unique and eagerly awaited holiday tradition...uniting families and individuals throughout our community and the nation in a celebration of spirit and storybook wonder.
    One of The Parade Company’s grandest attractions is our world renown papier-mâché head collection. These colorful artifacts were originally acquired from artists in Viareggio, Italy with some dating back to the 1940s. The ever expanding collection of nearly 300 heads are restored by the seasoned artists at The Parade Company that have been trained by the talented artisans from Viareggio. These cherished parade characters can be seen throughout the year on display in the studio and along the parade route.

    This year will mark the 4th year the Big Head Corps makes it’s march down Woodward Avenue. This year also plans to be even bigger and better with many exciting new activities planned throughout the year for our members. 2011 “Head Honcho” Steve Booher is confident in making an even bigger impact in the community this year. This group of enthusiastic young professionals will put on their heads Thanksgiving morning and march down Woodward Avenue, all in hopes of bringing smiles to people's faces and shedding light on one of Detroit’s hidden treasures.

2011 Distinguished Clown Corps
   You only have to look at the faces of the children to know when the clowns are coming down the street. The magic of America’s Thanksgiving Parade® has been enhanced for more than two decades by the Distinguished Clown Corps. This is a group of corporate and community leaders who generously contribute for the opportunity to trade their business suits for clown suits to make the grand march down Woodward Avenue in downtown Detroit.
   It all began with business leaders such as Tom Adams, then chief of Campbell-Ewald, and Walter McCarthy, then chief of Detroit Edison, who served as the spark in creating a way for the leadership to become personally involved in helping The Parade Company.
   Over 2,000 clowns have touched the memories of millions as they make their annual appearance. Passing out candy, smiles, and of course… beads. The Distinguished Clown Corps, supported by the Junior Jesters, is a vital part of the grass roots tradition of America’s Thanksgiving Parade®. A heritage that is working hard to grow its ranks even further.

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