America's Thanksgiving Day Parade will return 'live and in-person' this year

Maureen Feighan
The Detroit News

Get ready to break out your warm coat, thermal underwear and hot chocolate, Detroit parade fans. After a one-year broadcast-only format because of the pandemic, America's Thanksgiving Day Parade along Woodward Avenue is back next month live and in person. And spectators are welcome.

"We're going to have this amazing tradition back in Detroit," said Tony Michaels, president and CEO of the Parade Company, which produces the parade, on Tuesday. 

The parade returns Nov. 25 and also will be broadcast on WDIV-TV. It will run along a nearly 3-mile stretch of Woodward Avenue. Last week, the Parade Company announced that Gardner-White has extended its presenting sponsorship of the parade through 2025.

Spectators will be allowed at this year's America's Thanksgiving Parade, pictured here in 2015 in Detroit.

Organizers pre-taped last year's parade because of COVID-19 and presented it in a broadcast-only format with live commentary on WDIV. It featured video segments of floats, balloons and marching bands but no spectators or grandstands.

This year, Michaels said they'll continue to monitor the situation with Detroit's health department and "will do what's appropriate at the time," though he wouldn't be more specific. 

"If you want to wear masks, go ahead," said Michaels. "But it’s Oct. 5. ... We’re just keeping an eye on things."

This year's theme is "Love on Woodward." The parade, now celebrating its 95th year, also is broadcast on 185 television markets across the country.

Michaels said he's already gotten so much feedback from people who are thrilled the parade will be back.

"People want this so bad," he said. "This is the event."