New York isn’t the only city that puts on a pretty spectacular Thanksgiving Day parade. Chicago’s annual Turkey Day celebration is in its 86th year, making its way down historic State Street, from Congress Parkway to Randolph Street.
The live TV broadcast will air locally on WGN-TV from 8 a.m. CT to 11 a.m. CT, hosted by WGN anchors Lauren Jiggetts, Dan Ponce, and Sarah Jindra. The live stream of the parade is below and at WGNTV.com.
The 2019 Chicago Thanksgiving Parade lineup includes Teatro ZinZanni, Ray of Hope Riders, Harlem Globetrotters, Chicago Chinese Performing Arts Ensemble, Punjabi Cultural Society of Chicago, and Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament, plus 20 marching bands, 13 floats, 16 staged theatrical performances, 11 equestrian groups, 18 cultural groups, inflatables, and celebrity guests. And of course, no Chicago Thanksgiving Parade would be complete without the iconic Teddy Turkey and Santa Claus himself.
The Grand Marshals for this year are actors Chris Sullivan from This Is Us and Miguel Cervantes, who stars in the Chicago production of Hamilton. The parade organizers tell the Chicago Tribune that their choices were inspired by the city declaring 2019 “the year of Chicago theater.”
“These two actors, particularly, were great choices,” says Phil Purevich, executive producer of the Chicago Thanksgiving Parade. “[Sullivan] has his theater beginnings here in Chicago, and Miguel Cervantes is very well known and has been a crucial part of Chicago’s theater community for years.”
Thanksgiving Day parades have a rich history. The granddaddy of them all is not actually the Macy’s parade, but Philadelphia’s Gimbel Brothers-sponsored Thanksgiving procession that ran in 1920. The Macy’s parade, which was called Macy’s Christmas Parade in its first year, started in 1924, as did Detroit’s J.L. Hudson-sponsored Thanksgiving parade. The inclusion of gigantic helium-filled balloons started a few years later when Macy’s debuted Felix the Cat in 1927.