Many Americans revel in the memories of waking up on Thanksgiving morning to the smell of roasting turkey – a teaser to the feast to come later that day – and rushing to the television to marvel at the procession of larger than life balloons floating above streets lined with a crowd of spectators, colorful float displays, marching bands, clowns, and a variety of performers.
Humble Beginnings in the Roaring ’20s
Thanksgiving Day Parades in the United States have a long and proud history dating back to 1920, when the Philidelphia based Gimble Brothers Department Store, or Gimbels, sponsored the first official Thanksgiving Day Parade to kick off the holiday season and remind Philidelphians that Gimbels could serve all of their holiday needs. This parade is still recognized as the oldest and one of the largest in the country, however, the origianal name of Gimbels Thanksgiving Day Parade has changed several times over since the company was taken over and is known today as the Philidephia Thanksgiving Day Parade.
So, the oldest parade has been covered, but the largest and most famous is hands down the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in New York City, which made its debut in 1924 to showcase the opening of the world’s largest store with 1 million square feet of retail space at the start of the busy holiday shopping season. This expansion of Macy’s flagship store in Manhattan’s Herald Square increased the stores presence to cover an entire city block spanning from Broadway to Seventh Avenue along 34th Street. This year celebrates the 90th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which will attract more than 3.5 million people to the streets of New York City and 50 million TV viewers nationwide!
Another legendary retailer, J.L. Hudson’s, also debuted a holiday parade in downtown Detroit in 1924 – the same year as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. America’s Thanksgiving Parade is the offical start of holiday season in the Motor City with its annual two-mile route down historic Woodward Avenue. Although Hudson’s stopped sponsoring the parade in 1979, this event lives on through area corporations and the Michigan Thanksgiving Parade Foundation, whose non-profit Parade Company organizes the event each year with the help of hundred of volunteers so the masses can still enjoy this annual Thanksgiving tradition.
Parades: Coming to a Property Near You
In the wake of these iconic leaders of industry, several other popular parades have sprung up over the decades. In the great state of Texas, where everything’s bigger, the annual H-E-B Holiday Parade has been a Houston tradition for over 60 years! For those guest staying in any one of our Texas RV resorts, this fantastic event is only a few hours away and is well worth the drive to experience all of the fun and festivities for yourself.
In Florida, you can stay warm and treat yourself to a re-creation of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade at Disney World with authentic giant balloons and floats from the famous New York City parade. Just minutes away from the main hustle and bustle of Orlando you can find some fantastic lodging options at Mill Creek, Kissimmee South, Orange City, and Blueberry Hill RV resorts.
South of the Orlando area, the popular vacation destination area of metropolitan Miami hosts the Winternational Thanksgiving Day Parade. Located in North Miami, this parade has been a staple for over 40 years and provides a smaller-scale event with a hometown feel. This is a great day trip for those staying at Goldcoaster in nearby Homestead or the Florida Keys at Riptide, Sea Breeze, and Pelican RV resorts.
In sunny San Diego, patrons of nearby Indian Wells RV Resort can enjoy a road trip to the annual Mother Goose Parade! This annual southern California event attracts over 250,000 people to the area with a unique two-fold purpose of promoting higher education for children and community development. Held every year on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, the Mother Goose Parade has been representing the beginning of the holiday season for 70 years and is the largest parade of its kind west of the Mississippi!
So, take some time this year to enjoy a Thanksgiving tradition as synonymous as the turkey himself with any of these historic parades or check your local area for other nearby regional or community events. Bring some cheer, put the fun in the festivities, and kick off the holiday season right this year!