Thanksgiving parade marches Detroit into holiday season

Nicquel Terry
The Detroit News

With drumbeats echoing on the Detroit's streets and costumed marchers assembling, America's Thanksgiving Parade kicked off for the 90th year on Thursday morning.

The Captain Underpants float makes its way down Woodward at the 90th American Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016.

Participants lined up at the corner of Woodward and Kirby where they began the route to Campus Martius.

About 42 young people from Dance Dynamics Performing Arts Center in Walled Lake stood out in their shimmering red outfits and red lipstick. They were doing a dance routine for the parade.

"I'm feeling pretty good," said Katie Daniel, a 16-year-old from Dance Dynamics. "I just like the energy that the patrons give us, it makes it worth it."

Along the parade route, employees from Huntington Bank dressed as poppies and walked with a colorful float themed "Michigan Strong."

Shawn Daly said the theme reflected the company's connection to Michigan communities. Daly said he was excited to march for the first time.

"You always see it on TV but you never see how it all comes together," he said.

The parade, presented by Art Van Furniture with the theme of “90 Years Together,” includes eight new floats.

One of them, called “Detroit — City of Possibilities,” is presented by Quicken Loans. Twenty employees dressed as astronauts marched with the 100-foot-long rocket ship. "I'm most excited to be a part of a piece of history," said An Vu, a continuous improvement analyst. "This parade is huge and it's part of Detroit."

Another, an 80-foot float designed by fifth-grader MyRee Scott, features giant flowers and an artist painting on a canvas.

For many attendees and volunteers, the desire to be part of a re-surging Detroit keeps bringing them back to the parade.

Ara Basherian said he's been attending the parade with his Detroit Goodfellows group for 20 years. Basherian, 81, said he believes the parade gets bigger every year, reflecting Detroit's comeback.

"You see more and more people turning out," Basherian said. "It's just representative of what Detroit is. It's a melting pot of a lot of people."

Marchers in sparkly red dresses and Santa hats make their way down Woodward during the Thanksgiving Day Parade in Detroit on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016.

Jan and Rudy Vuckov dressed as candles to top the 90th-anniversary birthday cake float. The Royal Oak couple said they have been volunteering with the parade for 20 years.

"It's a tradition that's something we can be proud of," Rudy Vuckov said. Added Jan: "The children love it, it's always for the children."

Some were there for the first time, hoping to start a new tradition.

Cookie Monster floats down Woodward during the Thanksgiving Day parade in downtown Detroit on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016.

Cousins Bianca Zaguroli and Vita Sprader said they were excited when relatives suggested driving into the city for the parade. "It's really cool," said Sprader, 15, of Hartland. "It must have taken a lot of hard work to make all the floats. They are all so good."

If you’re among those heading downtown for the parade or the Detroit Lions game, take note of street closures, parking and bus reroutes. Be sure to bundle up, too. Although the morning drizzle tapered off in time for the traditional Turkey Trot through downtown Detroit, temperatures aren't expected to break the mid-40s.