On Saturday one of my childhood dreams came true! I have always loved the Detroit Thanksgiving Day Parade and have all these memories of watching it with my brother, and now my own family. So when we got the opportunity to tour the Detroit Parade Company as part of a group that Wyatt belongs to, I quickly RSVPd. At the start it was more exciting for me, but I knew once we got there that Wyatt would love it too! Billy who is not a parade lover, even enjoyed himself!
We were greeted by larger than life Sesame Street characters – including two of Wyatt’s favorites, Cookie Monster and Elmo!
We learned that the Parade has been running continuously from the 1920s, except for the two years we were in WWII, when there was a shortage of materials. The warehouse itself was used to make Howitzers, which was weird to think about as we walked around! There is a permanent staff of 14 people, and then 2000 volunteers!
We walked through the construction areas first, that were reserved for sculpture and carpentry, before we got to the giant floats. And they were huge! Seriously so big. I think we were all a little in awe of the craftsmanship and size and scale of the floats that we saw.
Two of our favorites – The “Up North” float, and the Detroit Zoo! We also saw the brand new Ford Motor Company float which is amazing, but we are not allowed to talk about it or post photos. They want a big reveal at the parade! That one was Billy’s favorite of the day too. It was pretty cool!!
The big heads are always so fun during the parade! There is a Bob Seger one, which makes sense! But then someone had a sense of humor because the Henry Ford head was next to Walter Reuther. LOL. Our tour guide and full time staff member told us that the laundry for the parade takes until April to get finished!! Yikes!!!
We also really loved this dinosaur float!! It is retired unfortunately, so we won’t see it again, but I loved being able to see all the details up close! So fun. Also pictured is part of the Wayne State University float. And then of course my boy who was getting a little sleepy!
We finished up at Santa’s sleigh, which really put me in the Christmas spirit! I guess Santa no longer gets out of the sleigh as he gets mobbed, but gets out onto a platform and the mayor climbs up to him.
This was definitely something that we probably will never have the chance to do again, and it was such a good time. I learned a lot, and saw a lot, including the smile on my kiddo’s face during this whole event. I can’t wait for the parade now to see these things in action!
Do you like a parade?