Philadelphia's Thanksgiving Day parade is the oldest in the country. It dates to 1920, when Gimbels department store was in charge of the production. This year, the parade celebrates its 99th anniversary with huge floats, marching bands, and performances on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Here's everything you need to know about checking out this year's parade, whether in person or in the comfort of your living room.
The parade begins at 8:30 a.m. and goes until noon. It will be broadcast on 6abc and is hosted by Rick Williams and Cecily Tynan.
The parade begins at John F. Kennedy Boulevard and 20th Street and proceeds east to 16th Street, where it turns left and heads up the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The parade ends in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where the performances will take place.
The best place to watch is on the south side of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Try to get as close as you can to the Art Museum for the best view of the performances. You can bring a blanket (or many, as it's going to be chilly) or a lawn chair to make yourself comfortable.
If you're watching at home, you can catch the parade on 6abc in Philly and surrounding areas. It will also be on WATM-TV (Channel 23) in Johnstown; WJET-TV (Channel 24) in Erie; WTVD-TV (Channel 11) in Raleigh and Durham, N.C.; WSWB-TV (Channel 38) in Scranton; WBOC-TV in Salisbury, Md.; WJLA-TV in the Washington area; WTXL-IABC 27 in Tallahassee, Fla. and WAMY in Huntsville, Ala.
Current forecasts are saying it will be mostly sunny, with a high of 29 and a low of 17. So bundle up and stock up on those hand warmers.
This year, the parade welcomes Gritty, the Flyers' popular new mascot. Other performers include American Idol finalists (and Philly-area natives) Catie Turner, Michael Woodard, and Justin Guarini, the casts of Walnut Street Theatre's Matilda, Broadway's Anastasia, Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella, Miss Saigon, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical, Miss America 2019 (New York's Mia Franklin), the Eagles cheerleaders, the Pennsylvania Ballet, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, and, of course, Santa and Mrs. Claus.
Beginning Wednesday, Nov. 21, the following roads will be closed:
JFK Boulevard from 19th Street to 30th Street (both sides of the street)
20th Street from Market Street to Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Arch Street between 19th and 22nd Streets
Race Street between 16th and 17th Streets
17th Street from Vine Street to Race Street
Eastbound lanes of Vine Street from 15th Street to 17th Street
Market Street from 19th to 21st Streets will be closed from 4 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Thanksgiving.
Metered parking is free on Thanksgiving Day. No-parking rules will remain in effect, so watch out for no-parking zones. If you'd like to park in a garage, visit philapark.org/locator for a list of garages and lots around the parade route.