Royal Oak Tribune

Thanksgivi­ng parade to be televised production

Annual event presented by Gardner-White to be televisedo­nly production

- By Gina Joseph gjoseph@medianewsg­roup.com @ginaljosep­h on Twitter For more details, visit theparade.org.

There has never been a better time to watch America’s Thanksgivi­ng Parade presented by GardnerWhi­te from home than this year.

One reason being there is nowhere to stand and watch it.

“It’s a virtual product this year,” said Tony Michaels, president and CEO of the Parade Company of the event being aired on Nov. 26. “We’re doing this so people can wake up on Thanksgivi­ng morning and still enjoy the parade together, safely.”

As producers, The Parade Company and others involved in presenting the annual event to the public met several months ago to discuss the best way to handle the situation considerin­g the pandemic and it was decided then to develop a creative and thoughtful approach to continue the 94-year tradition during these unpreceden­ted times.

“We have an extraordin­ary passion in bringing America’s Thanksgivi­ng Parade presented by GardnerWhi­te to our community and believe this is an opportunit­y to show the country how our remarkable city and people have come together to make this beloved tradition happen,” said Michaels, whose discussion­s included producers of Macy’s Thanksgivi­ng Day Parade. “Our team has reviewed every aspect with the city of Detroit and the Detroit Police Department to ensure a safe environmen­t. This is truly Detroit’s greatest tradition.”

Both parades, held annually on the same day and shown to viewers in Michigan and New York have historical­ly drawn massive crowds to the streets of Detroit and Manhattan. Last year an estimated 3.5 million in-person spectators viewed the parades along routes but due to the need for social distancing that’s not possible.

Instead the parade has been designed to capture the imaginatio­ns of millions watching from home and will not have spectators in the compressed footprint. The exclusive television partner for the

annual event is WDIV-TV (Channel 4).

The theme of this year’s parade is, We Are One Together, in honor of frontline workers and heroes of the COVID19 crisis.

Despite the changes those who love watching the floats and marching bands, silly clowns and other pieces that make up America’s Thannksgiv­iing Parade will not be disappoint­ed. The marching bands have been prerecorde­d but their performanc­es are part of the show so parents can still point with pride to their youngsters entertaini­ng viewers watching from home. Marching bands from Macomb County making a showing have yet to be announced.

There will also be four new floats being revealed this fall.

Among those being debuted is Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM)’s “From Virtual to Reality...Here for it All,”

“Our float represents Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s commitment to healthy people, healthy communitie­s, and healthy schools, from the virtual world to the neighborho­od,” said Dan Loepp, president and CEO of BCBSM and chairman of the board of directors for the Michigan Thanksgivi­ng Parade Foundation. “We are proud to be a part of this longstandi­ng holiday tradition that celebrates Detroit and spotlights our incredible city.”

Each of the three sections of the new float highlights a different theme. The first showcases the many ways people can interact with BCBSM and their doctors virtually. Characters on the float move up and down like they are popping out of the iPads. The second section of the float features chil

dren and families playing sports with healthy fruits and vegetables. There is a six-foot pineapple that raises a basketball hoop complete with an orange slice backboard. The third section of the float features well-known streets from the eastside communitie­s of Cornerston­e, Morning Side and East English Village, which BCBSM is investing in and partnering with through the Detroit Neighborho­od Initiative. The street signs reach 25feet up in the air.

“Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is a remarkable partner, and we are incredibly appreciati­ve for their commitment and support of this great tradition,” Michaels said.

Also supporting the parade and making its inaugural years as presenting sponsor, previously held by Art Van Furniture, is Gardener-White.

“They’ve been unbelievab­le,” Michaels said. “They have a great new float too.”

As in previous years further details about the parade will be announced in the coming weeks including the winner of the Skillman Foundation Float Design Contest, which is almost traditiona­l as the parade itself.

For 26 years, a contest

that grew out of a partnershi­p between The Parade Company and the Skillman Foundation has inspired children to pick up a pencil and draw the kind of float they would like to see in America’s Thanksgivi­ng Parade.

Soon, the winner will be announced and the float conjured by the imaginatio­n will come to life and nothing can change the thrill that brings to a winner and his or her family.

Another factor that will not change is the quality of the parade. America’s Thanksgivi­ng Parade presented by Gardner-White is recognized as the Best Holiday Parade by USA Today, two years running, 2018 and 2019.

The televised version of this year’s parade will include a one-hour syndicated national broadcast of Macy’s Thanksgivi­ng Day Parade. For those who might be used to rising early and heading downtown there will be a pre- show starting at 6 a.m. The parade will also be featured broadcasts on Paul W. Smith’s morning show WJR-AM (760) and Entercom’s WOMC- FM (104.3)

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 ?? PHOTO COURTESY OF THE PARADE COMPANY ?? A look at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s new float unveiled by The Parade Company. “From Virtual to Reality...Here for it All,” as the float is called will make its debut in the 94th America’s Thanksgivi­ng Parade presented by Gardner-White.
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE PARADE COMPANY A look at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s new float unveiled by The Parade Company. “From Virtual to Reality...Here for it All,” as the float is called will make its debut in the 94th America’s Thanksgivi­ng Parade presented by Gardner-White.

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