Holiday rites include protest, outages in Northeast
New York — Millions of Americans across the country are marking the holiday with lots of turkey, football, parades and early shopping, while many are overcoming some nasty weather and power outages. At the White House, President Barack Obama is spending a quiet Thanksgiving with a traditional meal.
In New York City, heavy security including bomb-sniffing dogs and police helicopters protected spectators of all ages who lined the route of the nationally televised Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, which counted Thomas the Tank Engine, Paddington bear and the Red Mighty Morphin Power Ranger among its six new giant balloons.
Before the parade was over, snow flurries had replaced drizzle as thousands of people discovered they could get no closer than a long block away from the colorful spectacle.
"I can't go to the front. I can only see from here," said Ivan Souza, of Florianopolis, Brazil, as he watched with his wife and two children.
Six men and a woman protesting a grand jury's decision not to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, were arrested after they tried to march toward the parade route, police said.
Near the end of the parade route, about 50 protesters walked down the sidewalk carrying signs and chanting, "Hands up, don't shoot."
At the White House, President Barack Obama spent a quiet Thanksgiving, continuing a tradition of telephoning members of the armed forces to thank them for their service.
The first family's belly-stuffing menut featured thyme-roasted turkey and honey-baked ham, cornbread stuffing and oyster stuffing, braised winter greens and macaroni and cheese. Don't forget the green bean casserole, sweet potato gratin, mashed potatoes, dinner rolls and pies.
Obama says Thanksgiving is his favorite holiday "because, more than any other, it is uniquely American."
In the Northeast, power outages from a major snowstorm forced some in the Northeast to celebrate Thanksgiving much like the pilgrims and Native Americans did almost 400 years ago — in the dark.
The outages were particularly bad in northern New England, where about 200,000 customers remained without power in New Hampshire on Thursday afternoon and about 80,000 were without electricity in Maine.
It's become commonplace to see stores open on Thanksgiving, as retailers try to entice shoppers inside and kick off the holiday shopping season a day earlier than the traditional Black Friday.
Some of the stores open for at least part of the day on the holiday include Kmart, Target, Sears, Macy's and Wal-Mart. Other stores, like Neiman-Marcus, Nordstrom and Costco, are closed.