Monday, November 29, 2010

America's Thanksgiving Parade is more than what you see on TV

In past years, I've relied on the TV to see those big balloons make their way down Woodward during Detroit's Thanksgiving Day parade. I've never watched real closely, but I've seen it.

This year I decided to catch the parade first-hand for the first time, and from my spot on the parade route in Grand Circus Park, I found out why America's Thanksgiving Parade is one of Detroit's cooler holiday traditions.

The crowd size was impressive. I never realized how many people turn the parade into a family outing. Some get there early and set up tents along Woodward. Some bring portable grills and make breakfast. Some bring step ladders to get their kids a better view.

And I was also treated to some of what they don't show on TV, like how the balloons have to be pulled flat in order to get beneath the People Mover track on the south edge of Grand Circus Park. It's kind an odd sight, and seems a little hokey for the self-proclaimed "America's Thanksgiving Parade", but it doesn't take away from the fact that the parade - along with the Lions' home game that follows - is one of the truly unique things about Thanksgiving in Detroit.