DETROIT (CBS Detroit) – A cherished Detroit tradition, the 89th America’s Thanksgiving Parade, presented by Art Van, will step off on the corner of Woodward Avenue and Kirby on Thursday, Nov. 26 at 8:50 a.m. and end at Woodward  and Congress in downtown Detroit.

The two-hour parade — once of the country’s largest — is free to the public with grandstand tickets now available starting at $35. [Call 313-923-7400 for ticket info or visit this link].

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This year’s theme is “So Happy Together.”


The Tony, Grammy and Olivier award-winning musical JERSEY BOYS will open this year’s parade with a live performance from TV zone prior to the parade’s travel down Woodward Ave.

Keep an eye out for this year’s fantastic student-inspired float. It’s based on a design drawn by Skillman Foundation contest winner, eight-grader Ayress Goss. Entitled “Family Time” it features a slide spiraling around a giant tree into a pile of autumn leaves.

The Big Head Corps will unveil the newest papier-mâché head on Thanksgiving morning, joining more than 180 Big Heads to celebrate the late Saturday Night Live comedienne, actress and Detroit native, Gilda Radner.

Other highlights of the event include the 33rd Annual Strategic Staffing Solutions Turkey Trot, Michigan’s largest 10K run, Strategic Staffing Solutions Stuffing Strut (5K) and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Mashed Potato Mile. [Get directions and parking information, HERE].


Grand Marshals: Golden globe award-winning actor, comedian and Michigan native Tim Allen, along with honorary Grand Marshal, Stephen Henderson — a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist.

Celebrity appearances:  Women’s US Soccer stars Ali Krieger and Crystal Dunn, former Detroit Tiger Willie Horton, Run-D.M.C. founder Darryl McDaniels, Access Hollywood’s Liz Hernandez, Miss Michigan and Miss Michigan Teen, Kung Fu Panda, and Detroit’s favorite mascots: Paws, Roary, Hooper; and, of course everyone’s favorite … Santa Claus!


Street Closures: If you plan to drive anywhere near Woodward on Wednesday or Thursday you might want to check this list of street closures.

M1-Rail Construction:  The parade will travel down Woodward Ave. on mostly new pavement, installed as part of M-1 RAIL construction. Construction will affect parade participants a bit (at time they’ll only be marching on one side of Woodward), but officials say there are no viewing obstructions for parade-goers.  M1-RAIL and the police will have the area well marked as to where spectators may safely stand to view the parade. Pedestrians are asked to obey all traffic safety signs.

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People Mover: Those coming downtown for the morning runs, parade and the Lions Game can ride The Detroit People Mover free from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. , courtesy of Michelin North America, Inc. (People Mover passengers should note that the Grand Circus Park Station has reopened following renovations).

Parking:  The earlier you get downtown, the better. Between the S3 Turkey Trot, the parade, and the Lions, it gets extremely congested in the downtown area, especially since police begin closing some streets on Wednesday evening.

The Parade Company recommends the following facilities for America’s Thanksgiving Parade and the Turkey Trot:

JOE LOUIS ARENA GARAGE: 900 West Jefferson, Detroit 48226. $10

COBO ROOF DECK:  625 West Congress, Detroit 48226. $10

COBO WASHINGTON BLVD. GARAGE: 310 W Jefferson Ave., Detroit 48226. $10

BEAUBIEN PLACE GARAGE: 521 East Atwater (Entrance on Beaubien), Detroit 48226. $15 

SIXTH ST. LLC: 1200 Sixth St., Detroit 48226 $5

Many other parking structures and lots in the downtown area are open for the Thanksgiving Day races and the parade. [Get directions to these lots and more parking information, HERE].

Lost Children: Parents can find lost children at the Detroit Police Department Downtown Services, 20 Atwater or call 313-237-2850 or 313-237-2828.

Please Note: The city wants to remind parade watchers that the building of scaffolds and any similar device without a permit is prohibited during Thanksgiving events in downtown Detroit on private or public property.  Violators will be ticketed.


There’s nothing worse than being cold during the parade. Make sure you dress in layers and and keep it tuned to WWJ Newsradio 950 for traffic and weather on the 8s, 24 hours-a-day. Get the latest forecast now on our weather page.

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