First held in 1920, the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade has a vibrant legacy as the oldest Thanksgiving Day parade in America.
The parade was created by Gimbel Brothers Department Store for the children and residents of Philadelphia. After Gimbel's closed in 1986, WPVI-TV/6abc
stepped in to continue the holiday tradition that signifies the official arrival of Santa Claus in the "City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection."
With the support of corporate sponsors, 6abc has been producing the parade ever since and it now draws an extensive lineup of celebrities, floats, balloons,
performance groups and marching bands.
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.
Bands traveling to Philadelphia for the Thanksgiving Day Parade can take advantage of many educational opportunities by
touring historic sites such as Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell Center. Many bands also incorporate nearby New York City or Washington, DC into
The 1.4-mile parade route steps off from 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.
The telecast area is located near the end of the route, directly in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The parade
is aired live on channel 6abc and is syndicated to various markets east of the Mississippi. The parade can also be viewed as a live webcast on
• Alexis I. duPont Tiger Marching Band, Greenville, Delaware
• Fishers High School Marching Tiger Band, Fishers, Indiana
• Heights Youth Club Marching Band, Montego Bay, Jamaica
• Jackson Memorial Jaguar Band, Jackson, New Jersey
• Kutztown University Marching Unit, Kutztown, Pennsylvania
• LaPorte High School Marching Band, La Porte, Indiana
• Midland Valley and Silver Bluff High Schools Combined Band, Graniteville, South Carolina
• Oneonta High School Band, Oneonta, Alabama
• Pendleton Heights High School Marching Band, Pendleton, Indiana
• Pennsbury High School Marching Band, Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania
• Riverview High School Band, Sarasota, Florida
• Alan B. Shepard Marching Band, Palos Heights, Illinois
• Smiths Station Panther Spirit Band, Smiths Station, Alabama
• The Sound of Brownsburg High School Marching Band, Brownsburg, Indiana
• Tournament of Bands All-Star Marching Band (Representing 14 States)
• A Mass Youth Choir
provides an opportunity for elementary, middle school and high school choirs to appear on the parade telecast. The
approximately 1,000 singers are strategically positioned on the Museum of Art steps to form an amazing design.
In addition to the choir production, the entire cast also performs in the grand finale that features more than 2,000 performers.
• The All Star Tap Team
provides an opportunity for tap dancers of all ages to join with more than 600 tap dancers to create
an amazing presentation for the parade telecast. Organizers invite tap dancers from around the nation to join the one-of-a-kind experience. For detailed
information contact the production office
In addition to the special production, the team also performs in the parade opening and the grand finale.