A short ride away from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York is another Turkey Day parade that honors the origins of the United States — and this year, the Dunkin’ Thanksgiving Day Parade in Philadelphia is celebrating its 100th birthday, making it the oldest Thanksgiving Day parade in the country, which means they are pulling out all the stops for 2019.
Here’s everything you need to know about the parade and how to watch it if you can’t be there in person.
The festivities start at 8:15 a.m. ET, with the broadcast beginning at 8:30 a.m. and running until noon on the local ABC station, 6abc WPVI. Hosting the coverage local anchors Cecily Tynan, Rick Williams, Adam Joseph, Karen Rogers, and Alicia Vitarelli. A live stream is available at 6abc’s website and is also embedded below.
The parade route begins at 20th St. and JFK Boulevard, proceeding east to 16th St, then turning north on 16th to Ben Franklin Parkway, heading northwest on Ben Franklin Parkway until it reaches the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which, according to Visit the USA is actually a great place from which to watch the parade. The parade is also free and open to the public.
This year’s parade features 23 marching bands, 15 giant helium balloons (including Shrek, Daniel Tiger, Thomas the Train, and more), 30 performances and celebrity appearances by Macy Gray, Queer Eye‘s Carson Kressley, Kathy Sledge (of Sister Sledge), Billy Flanigan, Bianca Ryan, Aloe Blacc, Julian King, Il Divo, the Pennsylvania Ballet, DaVonda Simmons, Yolanda Adams, Good Morning America anchor Ginger Zee, and local sports mascots including Gritty himself!
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.