For 93 years, the City of Philadelphia has ushered in the holiday season with a festive parade on Thanksgiving, and from 8:30 a.m. until noon on Thursday, Nov. 22, 6abc will televise the 2012 Dunkin Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade, hosted by Rick Williams and Cecily Tynan of "Action News." Meteorologists Karen Rogers and Adam Joseph will report from the parade route.
Special guests at this year's holiday extravaganza include meteorologist Sam Champion of "Good Morning America" and "Sea Rescue," Phillies slugger Ryan Howard; The Geator with the Heater, Jerry Blavat; the Eagles Cheerleaders; Grammy-nominated Broadway star Frenchie Davis, formerly of "American Idol" and "The Voice," and "American Idol" (Season One) finalist Justin Guarini. Joining them live will be Disney darlings Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, as well as beloved Sesame Street residents Elmo, Cookie Monster, Ernie, Bert and The Count.
The parade will feature 14 balloons, including Thomas the Tank Engine, Bugs Bunny, Elmo and Frosty the Snowman, as well as 15 creative and elaborate floats. According to The Philanews.com, organizers strive to make the parade "the most band-friendly parade in the country," and they welcome applications from high school, university and specialty marching bands. The parade has 19 spots for marching bands each year, and it accepts bands consisting of 90 members or more. Bands are accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year and it is common that bands choose to return every two to four years.
There will be spirited appearances by local performers from the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA), the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf, Atlantic Coast Roller Girls, Philabundance, West Chester University All-Star Flag Team, and the Parade Mass Choir, and as always, the festivities will conclude with Santa Claus and his lovely wife officially declaring that the Christmas season has arrived.
The 1.4 mile route begins at the intersection of 20th Street and JFK Boulevard, turns left onto 16th Street and then left onto Ben Franklin Parkway. The entire parade route is free and open to the public, except for a limited number of grandstand seats in the telecast area that are "for sponsors and VIPs only."