‘Turkey, football, and a late afternoon nap’: Philly Thanksgiving Parade to return to the parkway

This 2019 photo shows The Morgantown West Virginia High School Marching Band marches along John F Kennedy Blvd during the 100th Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Jonathan Wilson for WHYY)

This 2019 photo shows The Morgantown West Virginia High School Marching Band marches along John F Kennedy Blvd during the 100th Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Jonathan Wilson for WHYY)

A Philadelphia staple is returning in time to kick off the holiday season.

This year, the Thanksgiving Parade is back to its traditional route.

“After 100 years of marching down the parkway, and that hiatus year, we are back,” said 6abc General Manager Bernie Prazenica, adding that the station is, “extremely excited [to be] coming together on Thanksgiving Day again.”

The event is billed as the oldest Thanksgiving parade in the country and went virtual last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Prazenica said they are going to take safety precautions to ensure that festivities go off with minimal risk of spreading COVID-19.

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The parade is going to integrate several groups that were unable to march this year because of the pandemic. Prazenica said they have invited the Juneteenth parade, the Pride Parade, the St. Patrick’s parade, and more.

Parade producer John Morris said the expansion of the parade is intended to give groups an opportunity to participate because, “so many communities that have their annual parades had to cancel them.” The groups will have their own marching units and floats. They will supplement the normal parade because fewer bands from out of town will be participating this year as a result of the pandemic.

Morris said even though last year was successful, “There’s nothing like a real parade, and we have been working for almost a full year on how we can bring back a safe parade to the streets of Philadelphia.” He added they have come up with a way, “to get all of the joy and the celebration of the parade on the street. We felt it was really important this year to bring back one of the city’s most important traditions.”

Mayor Jim Kenney spoke at the parade announcement. He said Thanksgiving is his favorite holiday. “It’s turkey, football, and a late afternoon nap with no other crap going on. The other holidays are more complicated.”

Kenney was more serious when he said the upcoming holiday season is important for Philadelphia.

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“This parade is following all the city’s safety protocols for participants, staff, and parade-goers. The protocols follow all the city of Philadelphia’s health and safety regulations, as well as 6abc’s parent company Walt Disney,” Kenney said. That includes all participants along the parade route being masked, said Kenney.

Organizer Morris explained that parade participants must also wear masks, unless absolutely necessary to play an instrument or other critical needs.

The parade will be broadcast beginning at 9 a.m. on 6abc. The event will also be available on Hulu.

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