After a COVID-19-induced hiatus, the Thanksgiving Day Parade is officially coming back to Philadelphia this year.
At a news conference outside City Hall, Mayor Jim Kenney announced the return of the oldest Thanksgiving Day parade in the country, having celebrated its centennial run in 2019. The parade will step off at 9 a.m. Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25.
Last year, the parade was one of the many casualties of a seven-month moratorium brought on by COVID-19 that canceled events throughout the city, including the Mummers Parade, the Puerto Rican Day Parade, and the Philadelphia Marathon.
The return of the parade was a sign of life slowly returning to normal and a kickoff to the city’s holiday season, said Kenney.
“The 6ABC Dunkin’ Thanksgiving Day Parade is the oldest Thanksgiving Day Parade in the nation,” said Kenney. “It’s one of my favorite holiday traditions here in Philadelphia. Matter of fact, it’s my favorite holiday. It’s turkey, football and a late afternoon nap.”
Last year, broadcast partner 6ABC held a virtual event instead of the parade. The event had been canceled only once before, in 1971, due to inclement weather.
“We’re here to say it’s back and it’s live,” said Bernie Prazenica, president and general manager of 6ABC. “After 100 years of marching down the parkway then that hiatus year, we’re back and it couldn’t be more important for us to be back given all that we’ve gone through and all that our community has suffered.”
The parade will follow its usual route and include 14 floats, at least a dozen large balloons, and marching bands from all across the Lehigh Valley, said Prazenica. Guests will include television personalities Ginger Zee and Carson Kressley, journalist and Temple University alum Tamron Hall, and Philadelphia comedian Quinta Brunson, he said.
Planned musical performances include Kool & the Gang, Tag Team, Amy Grant, Taylor Dayne, and others, said Prazenica.
This year’s parade will highlight many of the city’s communities and their celebrations that were sidelined by last year’s moratorium, said Prazenica. Groups that organized Juneteenth celebrations, the Pride parade, the Puerto Rican Day Parade, and others will have their time to shine, with dedicated floats and programming for the Thanksgiving Day Parade, he said.
In keeping with COVID-19 safety protocols, those attending will have to wear masks and social distance along the parade’s route, said Kenney. For anyone who feels uncomfortable, 6ABC will be broadcasting the parade, he said.
For the first time, the parade will also be broadcast nationally, via livestream on Hulu, said Prazenica.