McDonald’s Celebrates 80th Thanksgiving Parade

The McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade marches down State Street ‘that great street’ on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 28. Festivities begin at 8am on Congress Parkway heading north on State Street to Randolph Street. Leading the parade as Grand Marshal is actress and singer Drew Sidora, along with special guests, Miss Illinois 2013, Miss Illinois Teen and Pre-Teen 2013, and Miss Chicago, and a special appearance for the kids by Santa Claus and Teddy Turkey.

Hundreds of thousands of guests attend the parade which officially kicks off the holiday season. Expect non-stop entertainment for three hours as you feast your eyes upon character balloons such as Curious George, Tweety, and the Tasmanian Devil, elite marching bands all the way from California, ornate and colorful floats, the Budweiser Clydesdales, and theatrical performances by Million Dollar Quartet, among others. If you can’t make it to State Street, then watch the three hour broadcast live on WGN 9 Chicago and WGN America.

History Behind the Parade 
Originally called the Christmas Caravan in the 1930s, the parade was created in 1934 to help lift the spirits of residents suffering through the Great Depression. Since then, it has developed into a full-scale spectacle that celebrates the holiday season. What once started out as an attempt to boost Chicago’s economy has evolved into a cherished holiday tradition for Chicagoans and Americans alike. The parade includes performers and special guests representing every part of the country, as well as representing many cultures from around the world. Over 20 different cultures were represented in the 2012 Parade.

WGN-9 Chicago airs the parade live and in high definition from 8-11am, Thursday, November 28. WGN America also broadcasts the parade nationwide, establishing it as one of only three parades in the country to be covered live, in its entirety, on a national television broadcast (along with Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City and The Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California). The parade streams live online at and CLTV rebroadcasts the parade from 2-5pm.


About Cindy Burns

Currently writing for TCW's 'Woman About Town' column, Cindy Burns covers Chicago's social scene, events, fashion, and interviews women and men who are making a difference in the world. With an M.A. in American History from DePaul University, Ms. Burns is an author, freelance writer, avid reader and researcher. Ms. Burns has spent over 20 years serving on charitable boards and organizations, and currently serves as a member of the Women's Board of the Joffrey Ballet and the Women's Auxiliary Board of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicago. She is also an Honorary Member of the Children's Service Board of Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital. When Ms. Burns isn't running around Chicago covering current events, you can find her biking, on the tennis courts, or hiking in a mountainous region of her choice.