Who are all these special guests, exactly?
In addition to the usual inflated characters, expect appearances from Miss America, Nia Franklin, and the city’s most buzzed-about celeb -- Gritty. Extra showbusiness sparkle is added by stars from the Walnut Street Theatre production of Matilda and the touring productions of the Grinch and Carole King musicals, plus you’ll be treated to top-notch choreography from the Pennsylvania Ballet, the Eagles Cheerleaders, and the Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus. Of course, it wouldn’t be the Thanksgiving Day Parade without a visit from the big man in red -- yes, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be in attendance, too.
The standout performances don’t stop at the A-listers. The Rancocas Valley Regional High School Dance Team, University of Delaware Marching Band, Pottstown Dance Theater, the Bodies in Motion Dance School, and the Parade Youth Choir will do their thing, among many others. Finally, there are parade mainstays like Jerry Blavat to energize the crowd.
What are the best viewing spots?
American Heritage Credit Union is setting up a watching zone at Eakins Oval, complete with a photo booth, live entertainment, face painting, free Dunkin Donuts, and more. Other hotspots include the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps, Logan Circle, The Franklin Institute, The Academy of Natural Sciences, The Barnes Foundation, Sister Cities Park, and LOVE Park. Be aware that road closures will prevent you from driving too close to the parade route, but it’s easily accessible on foot from City Hall and Suburban Station. On the plus side, if you are driving, metered street parking is free on Thanksgiving.