looking back at the thanksgiving parade as it keeps marching on ahead



back in my advertising days, america’s thanksgiving parade in detroit was one of our clients. as i watch it this morning, i have many memories, both fond, and some, not so much:

– spending all night on thanksgiving eve, in the parade warehouse and in the cold out on woodward avenue as the floats rolled out and news affiliates wanted live shots

– media fighting for best position for the event

– driving golf carts down our usually packed busy roads, no cars allowed during set up, surveying the situation, and getting such a very cool and different view

– chasing a news anchor through a scary neighborhood the night before, as he sped his way towards the scene with his cameraman, drunk and angry he had to work, got a flat tire and i just kept going, local homeless guy kindly helped me with my tire and i jumped out , ran to the street and got the live shot just in time

– having the 4 tops as a float attraction, though only 3 were still alive and hoping no one would notice, then 1 of the 3 went on a bender, was lost somewhere in detroit and pulled up in a limo, in his clothes from the night before, just as the parade was about to begin

– cinderella got the flu just as she was getting in her costume to ride in her carriage, had to have an intern fill in

– giant balloon untethering itself and flying across the border to our friends in canada

– communication source, walkie talkies and radios going out, trying to make decisions based on a ‘best guess’ approach

– volunteers getting ‘fired’ by an ego-driven person at the top, for not being ‘camera-worthy,’ having to put a positive p.r. spin on this 

–  celebrities, bands, clowns, animals, law enforcement, athletes, characters, charity events, music, lost children, artists, contests, security, parking, coaches, costumes, twirlers, technology, floats, marchers, bad weather, live tv, and the crowd – somehow it all went off no matter what did or didn’t happen behind the scenes. as crazy and sleep depriving and dizzying as it was, i loved it all (now that i am looking back and watching it from the warmth of a living room, drinking coffee, and just taking it all in from a cozy couch.) happy thanksgiving to all.

   If you’re not in the parade, you watch the parade. That’s life.  – Mike Ditka





41 responses »

    • benjamin – yes, it was quite an adventure and you would have loved the artists involved. i think you are right about parades and joy being so closely aligned. happy day to you too, friend )


  1. It is true everyone takes these events for granted not realising how much goes into arranging and trying to satisfy every single player, or float as it were without any hitches. The sometimes windy, rainy conditions hampering the event and people dropping out for countless reasons, but I agree, the satisfaction of having successfully arranged such a spectacle must be awesome 🙂 Mind you joining you for a coffee in the warmth sounds a whole lot better, and hey pass me another chocolate biscuit or else? 😉 lol

    Andro xxxx


  2. I remember the parades we used to have in my hometown each year. I think there were three or four throughout the course of the year, but I always remembered which ones threw out a lot of candy to the kids!


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