Credit: Provided

DOWNTOWN — The city’s 2023 Thanksgiving Parade will include classic marching bands, festive floats, live performances and familiar faces — and beaks — this year. 

Teddy the Turkey and other giant helium balloons are back after a pandemic-related pause. The balloons will travel up State Street from Ida B. Wells Drive to Randolph Street with the rest of the parade participants.

Now in its 89th year, the parade will run 8-11 a.m. Nov. 23. 

The parade will broadcast live on Pluto TV and channel CW26, with actors Jen Lilley and Jesse Hutch returning as hosts. 

“We are absolutely thrilled to create a long-lasting memory for all generations, one that is a tradition for so many people attending and watching from home,” Daniel Mulka, executive director of the Chicago Thanksgiving Parade Foundation, said in a release. “Our Chicago Thanksgiving Parade has become through the years a vibrant event that is an integral piece of what makes our city so great and unique.”

The first Christmas Caravan was held Dec. 7, 1934 on State Street before it became a Thanksgiving Day parade decades later. Credit: Chicago Loop Alliance

Chicago’s Thanksgiving Day parade was created in 1934 as an economic opportunity in response to the Great Depression.

The family-friendly event typically attracts thousands of spectators. The parade is free, but VIP tickets are $70 — up from $60 in 2022 — and available for purchase here

Parade participants include: 

  • Staged live entertainment performances from 8-9 a.m. by American Blues Theater, Poet Laureate of Chicago avery r. young, Ballet Folklorico Sones Mexicanos, Black Ensemble Theater, Chicago Korean Dance Company, Dong Fang Chinese Performing Arts, Huaxing Arts Group, John Vincent, Korean Performing Arts Institute of Chicago, Suktinis, Musical Theater Works, Renacer Boliviano, Reyna Roberts, Tayler Holder and Texas State University Strutters
  • Marching bands from 16 schools and universities, including the first historically Black university band to play in the parade, Tennessee State University
  • Equestrians from Bertrand’s Miniature Horses, Herder Holiday Horses, Miss Rodeo Illinois and Miss Teen Rodeo Illinois, Ray of Hope Riders, Red Hats and Purple Chaps, and SOUL Harbour Ranch Animal Therapy Program
  • Floats from Casa de la Cultura Guatemalteca en Chicago, Mid-USA Falun Dafa Association, Punjabi Cultural Society of Chicago, Santa’s Village and Krewe of Europa. 

A full list of performers is available here. More than 13 different cultures will be represented in the parade. Volunteer applications are still open.

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