Nation’s first Thanksgiving Day parade marches another year

A happy turkey makes a balloon appearance at the 103rd Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Emily Cohen for WHYY)

Before New York’s famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, there was the one put on by Gimbels department store. And it was right here in Philadelphia.

The nation’s first Thanksgiving Day parade was a 15-car motorcade that rolled down Market Street in 1920.

This year’s parade — the 103rd — followed a different route. It started at 20th Street and John F. Kennedy Boulevard, and wound its way to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway before it ended at the Art Museum.

WHYY photographers caught it all: Balloons of beloved children’s characters, Santa and his reindeer, as well as performances from The Spinners and C+C Music Factory, Philadanco, Carson Kressley, and Blue Man Group.

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The Ryan family cheer on the floats and bands at the 103rd Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Emily Cohen for WHYY)
The Ryan family cheer on the floats and bands at the 103rd Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Emily Cohen for WHYY)
Leonardo from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles makes a balloon appearance at the 103rd Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Emily Cohen for WHYY)
Leonardo from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles makes a balloon appearance at the 103rd Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Emily Cohen for WHYY)
The Johnson family traveled from South Jersey to watch the 103rd Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Emily Cohen for WHYY)
The Johnson family traveled from South Jersey to watch the 103rd Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Emily Cohen for WHYY)
As long as the weather permits, the Pilawsky Hueston family has the best seats on the parade route thanks to their scaffolding bench at the 103rd Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Emily Cohen for WHYY)
As long as the weather permits, the Pilawsky Hueston family has the best seats on the parade route thanks to their scaffolding bench at the 103rd Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Emily Cohen for WHYY)
Parkland High School Marching Band out of Allentown Pennsylvania marched along the parade route performing during the 103rd Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Emily Cohen for WHYY)
Parkland High School Marching Band out of Allentown Pennsylvania marched along the parade route performing during the 103rd Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Emily Cohen for WHYY)
Jadore Walker, 10, poses with mailman Vincent McGuigan’s mailbag during a pause in movement along the parade route at the 103rd Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Emily Cohen for WHYY)
Jadore Walker, 10, poses with mailman Vincent McGuigan’s mailbag during a pause in movement along the parade route at the 103rd Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Emily Cohen for WHYY)
Mister Potato Man makes a balloon appearance at the 103rd Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Emily Cohen for WHYY)
Mister Potato Man makes a balloon appearance at the 103rd Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Emily Cohen for WHYY)
The Leahy and Thim families have been coming to the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade for over 30 years and now have three generations in attendance at this year’s parade. (Emily Cohen for WHYY)
The Leahy and Thim families have been coming to the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade for over 30 years and now have three generations in attendance at this year’s parade. (Emily Cohen for WHYY)
“Abbot Elementary” tv star Sheryl Lee Ralph waves at fans from a float at the 103rd Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Emily Cohen for WHYY)
“Abbot Elementary” tv star Sheryl Lee Ralph waves at fans from a float at the 103rd Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Emily Cohen for WHYY)
Camryn Izzy, 11, takes a photo with two Eagles cheerleaders at the 103rd Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Emily Cohen for WHYY)
Camryn Izzy, 11, takes a photo with two Eagles cheerleaders at the 103rd Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Emily Cohen for WHYY)
Rob and Linda Young ride on an 1884 Rudge Tandem Rotary bike at the 103rd Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Emily Cohen for WHYY)
Rob and Linda Young ride on an 1884 Rudge Tandem Rotary bike at the 103rd Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Emily Cohen for WHYY)
Lauren Eccleston (right) and John Gentile and friends came from Somers Point, New Jersey to celebrate the career of Jim Gardner at the 103rd Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Emily Cohen for WHYY)
Lauren Eccleston (right) and John Gentile and friends came from Somers Point, New Jersey to celebrate the career of Jim Gardner at the 103rd Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Emily Cohen for WHYY)
Parkland High School Marching Band out of Allentown Pennsylvania marched along the parade route performing during the 103rd Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Emily Cohen for WHYY)
Parkland High School Marching Band out of Allentown Pennsylvania marched along the parade route performing during the 103rd Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Emily Cohen for WHYY)
Dancers with Varsity Spirit dance along the parade route at the 103rd Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Emily Cohen for WHYY)
Dancers with Varsity Spirit dance along the parade route at the 103rd Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Emily Cohen for WHYY)
A little girl takes a break from watching the parade to check out dogs Ava, with the goggles, and Lilly, at the 103rd Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Emily Cohen for WHYY)
A little girl takes a break from watching the parade to check out dogs Ava, with the goggles, and Lilly, at the 103rd Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Emily Cohen for WHYY)
Decatur Central High School Marching Band and Guard came from Indianapolis, Indiana to perform in the 103rd Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Emily Cohen for WHYY)
Decatur Central High School Marching Band and Guard came from Indianapolis, Indiana to perform in the 103rd Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Emily Cohen for WHYY)
The Pisacano family cheer on the floats and bands at the 103rd Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Emily Cohen for WHYY)
The Pisacano family cheer on the floats and bands at the 103rd Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Emily Cohen for WHYY)
Ruth Garibian and her dog Bentley ride in a vintage car as it travels with their group, “Soul Riders Auto Club”, along the route of the 103rd Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Emily Cohen for WHYY)
Ruth Garibian and her dog Bentley ride in a vintage car as it travels with their group, “Soul Riders Auto Club”, along the route of the 103rd Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Emily Cohen for WHYY)
Rob and Linda Young ride on an 1884 Rudge Tandem Rotary bike at the 103rd Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Emily Cohen for WHYY)
Rob and Linda Young ride on an 1884 Rudge Tandem Rotary bike at the 103rd Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Emily Cohen for WHYY)
Eric Knight, of The Wheelmen, expertly rides a vintage bicycle at the 103rd Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Emily Cohen for WHYY)
Eric Knight, of The Wheelmen, expertly rides a vintage bicycle at the 103rd Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Emily Cohen for WHYY)

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