Millions of people around the country will wake up Thanksgiving morning, pour a piping-hot mug of coffee or cocoa and perhaps get cozy by a fire as they prepare themselves to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.
Newsflash, America: Detroiters have had one up on you since 1924.
Here, we know the only parade to watch takes place on Woodward Avenue at the America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
It’s a 93-year tradition of which Detroiters are very proud. In fact, when you think about it, Thanksgiving Day is one of the most special days of the year in this town. There are so many “uniquely Detroit” events to enjoy today, we need to acknowledge how thankful we are for them.
For starters, we have the “parade before the parade,” known as the Turkey Trot, a precursor to the main event that has been around 39 years. Thousands of participants wake up in the wee hours of Thanksgiving morning — some in fun costumes including turkey hats, feather boas and tutus — to complete races of various distances like the 10k Turkey Trot, 5k Stuffing Strut or Michigan Mashed Potato Mile.
Last year, nearly 2,456 brave souls completed the 10k. Runners in this event say they believe calories don’t count for the day once they cross the finish line. We won’t debate that. It’s arguably the healthiest way to start Thanksgiving Day. Most of us, however, will just be raising our Bloody Mary or mimosa in your honor, in our PJs, from the comfort of our couches.
As for the actual parade, generations have enjoyed this event for just more than nine decades. Nearly 1 million hearty Detroiters, willing to brave the elements, will watch it in person, making it one of the country’s largest spectator parades. Elaborate floats, paper mache Big Heads of celebrities, a clown corps, high school bands and dance teams drum up early-morning excitement, serving as our city’s special rite of passage to kick off the holidays.
Bonus for Grosse Pointers — we get to see some of these fantastic floats and spectacular performers Friday morning at our day-after Thanksgiving parade along Kercheval.
And if you have lived here for a while, you know what comes next: the Detroit Lions game. Yes, we could be considered masochists for investing time to watch the Motor City Kitties. But Detroiters are nothing if not loyal masochists. It’s a badge we wear with pride to accompany our Honolulu Blue and Silver attire. Lions head coach Dan Campbell is a likable guy and if you tuned in to HBO’s football documentary series “Hard Knocks,” which featured the Lions this preseason, many of us found ourselves reclaiming our fandom for the team.
A win would delight us. A loss most likely means we move up dinner time and have the loathsome Dallas Cowboys on in the background, instead of discussing the various scenarios that could get us into the playoffs. Detroiters are dreamers, that’s for sure.
So let’s get excited. Take advantage of all of the sights and sounds Detroit offers on Thanksgiving Day. It’s our version of the Oscars, Super Bowl (gulp!) and Oprah’s Favorite Things, all rolled into one.
There’s nowhere we would rather be than the “D.”