Crowds brave cold for Chicago Thanksgiving Parade

Despite the cold hundreds of people came from near and far to watch the floats travel down State Street.
November 28, 2013 4:17:10 PM PST
Despite the cold hundreds of people came from near and far to watch the floats travel down State Street.

With a "gobble, gobble" here and excited spectators there, Old McDonald had a parade.

The Rich South High School marching band was just one of many that kept a pep in the step of this cold crowd.

While this parade is a celebration of an American tradition, it draws from cultures from all over the globe.

"This parade looks like Chicago," said Phil Purevich, Director, McDonald's Thanksgiving. "We work really hard to reach out to the different communities and find the best performers and showcase them in the parade."

This parade on State Street dates back to the 1930's when it was known as the Christmas Caravan. In the 1980's it moved to Michigan Avenue. Then in the late 1990's it came back to State Street as the Jingle Elf Parade.

Now it's all about Thanksgiving and it draws performers and spectators from all over the country.

"We were here at 6:30 a.m. and we're here because my daughter is marching in the parade," said Dawn Jamann of Battle Creek, Michigan.

"I'm from Pennsylvania, Philadelphia specifically, and we're here to see our granddaughter in the parade," Joyce Rosenberger said.

A dozen inflatables filled the sky above State Street. While on the ground, band members fought back shivering lips to warm the crowd.

"Definitely the bands, kids are loving it, with all the floats and balloons, they just love it," said Lansing resident Gretchen Tomich.

There were 100 units, from dancers to delightful characters, in this 80-year-old parade that's bounced around a bit but has finally found a home.

"We were a Christmas parade and then went to Michigan Avenue in the 1980's, it was produced on the Saturday after Thanksgiving," Purevich said. "And in the late 90's we came back to State Street and moved to Thanksgiving and it's a huge success, a great home on a great day."

While this day is all about traditions, for Ryan Coe and Kari Babecki from Tinley Park, new memories were made at this parade.

Just before they pulled a balloon State Street for their second years in a row, Ryan had a surprise: He proposed.

"I was in shock! I didn't know what he was doing, I didn't expect it today! It was perfect. You couldn't ask for a better engagement," Babecki said.

One more memory, from a day filled with them.


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