Revelers brave frigid temps, wind for America’s oldest Thanksgiving Day parade

Thousands of spectators bundled up and lined the streets of Philadelphia Thursday for the city’s 98th Annual Thanksgiving Day Parade. The Philadelphia parade is the nation’s oldest continuing Thanksgiving Day parade.

Filling the streets with song and dance, high school marching bands and color guards from around the country gave viewers much to distract them from the frigid 34 degree, windy weather.

Families with multiple generations gathered together claiming sections of curb throughout the parade’s route towards the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Some families brought everyone out to keep the tradition alive, like the the Radetich-Coulter family who had twenty members of their family layered up in blankets on Market Street for the 35th year.

Others brought brought members of their family with them in spirit. Spirit which Scott Conaway and his family represented with big photos of his wife Ingrid’s face. “It’s too cold out here for her. We’ve been coming for ten years, but she’s never come. So we brought her along in spirit this year,” Conaway explained.

The parade also filled the streets of historic Philadelphia with classic large inflatable pop culture cartoon characters. As the massive balloons made their way down the route “spin, spin, spin” was chanted by children and adults alike, often led by the police officer designated for that section of the route, in hopes of the volunteers would run in a circle making their character spin and dance in the air. In traditional Philadelphia fashion, volunteers were met with loud BOOs by the crowd when a spin was not delivered.

Eakin’s Oval turned into a festival grounds at the end of the parade route for revelers. With hot cocoa and face painting along with sponsor vendor booths with games and live music providing a beat, spectators had more than enough to keep all members of the family warm and busy as they winded down their parade festivities and prepared to go home and celebrate Thanksgiving with their friends and families.

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