A Philadelphia Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving Day Parades are an American staple, with cities all across the country holding parades this morning. Most likely your first thought is of the Macy’s Day Parade in New York City, but my hometown of Philadelphia lays claim to the oldest Thanksgiving Day parade in the United States.

People line the streets of Philadelphia to watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade

The parade was born in 1920 by Ellis Gimbel, one of the founders of Gimbels Department Stores. Wanting his stores to be the ultimate destination of every holiday shopper, Gimbel had more than fifty employees dress in costume and sent them to walk in their first Thanksgiving Day parade. The parade featured floats and marchers parading down Market Street, with the finale consisting of Santa Claus arriving at the toy department at Gimbels. Gimbels created the Thanksgiving Day Parade, and his example led to the start of similar parades in cities all around the United States.

Performers line the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art

When Gimbels liquidated in 1986, the continuance of the country’s oldest Thanksgiving Day parade was very much in jeopardy. Fortunately, Boscov’s — a family owned department store based in the Philadelphia area — stepped in and assumed sponsorship of the parade. The parade has taken on a few other names since then, but will celebrate it’s 93rd anniversary this year known as the 6abc Dunkin’ Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Kristen Alderson poses with fans during the parade

Disney characters pose on their float

Which city holds your favorite Thanksgiving Day Parade?