Do you hate joy and holiday-related celebrations? Does the gleeful screech of smiling children make you cringe? Are you repulsed by masses of optimistic Philadelphians filled with the generosity and spirit of Thanksgiving? If so, this Thursday morning stay inside, draw your curtains, and turn the dreary music that matches your soul all the way up because that's when Philadelphia's Thanksgiving Day will travel through the city's streets.

Starting at JFK Boulevard and 20th Street, the parade - featuring giant balloons, marching bands, and even Santa Claus - is the oldest in the nation, celebrating 97 years. Started by the Gimbels department store in 1920, the parade marked Santa's official arrival to the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection. When Gimbels closed in the 1980s, 6ABC continued the tradition, which has been featured in the ABC show The Goldbergs - which should cement it as a cultural staple that you absolutely must experience.

The parade will wind around Logan Square and head down the Parkway, the last balloons and acts finishing up at the Art Museum steps around noon. If you're a first-time participant, here are a few tips:

First, dress appropriately. It could be cold, it could be unseasonably warm. And use the bathroom before you venture out. Trust me on that one. Finally, if you want a good view, get there early.

Where to watch? My favorite place in Philly is the Parkway, and there's nothing cooler than watching gargantuan balloons of cartoon figures bumble down the Parkway with City Hall in the background. Of course, some like to watch near the Comcast Center. That's because they can step inside and get a break from the weather, but also because of the 15-minute holiday experience shown on one of the world's highest-resolution LED displays.

Wherever you end up, watching from the Parkway or the couch at home, you'll be filled with the same joy and awe that many children experience when they see their favorite character, larger than life, fly down the street.

The parade starts at 8:30 a.m. Thursday. For more information, visit

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