Saturday, November 12, 2011

Festive Field Trip

We had fun on a field trip on Friday. The whole family traveled a bit over an hour to Detroit to tour The Parade Company. The Parade Company is responsible for the Detroit Thanksgiving Day Parade. This year will be the 81st year that the parade has been running! The field trip allowed us to walk through the HUGE warehouse where the floats are stored and created. I have been watching the Detroit Thanksgiving Day Parade since I was a kid. Many of the things that I saw yesterday were things I've seen over the years.

These are paper mache "heads" that people wear while walking in the parade. We learned that they weigh up to 100 lbs! In addition when the parade first started, it was run by Mr. Hudson. He employed people to walk in the parade. Now, the parade is full of volunteers. If someone would like to wear one of these heads, THEY actually pay The Parade Company $200 to wear one! My kids think it is crazy to pay that kind of money to walk around balancing a 100 lb head on their shoulders!

Sweet Baby immediately noticed that there was an elephant head, since elephants are her favorite animal, we snapped a picture of her.

I remember seeing these in the parade year after year. People climb into them and walk around with them..FUNNY!

After our introduction and taking a peek at the paper mache heads and ostriches, we went on to see the area where they are creating new floats. We were not allowed to take photos of the floats themselves but I was able to take a picture of this. The artist was sanding down this big piece of foam like stuff to make a piece to a float. The kids really thought that was neat.

Here is the Wizard of Oz float..cute!

Daddy really enjoyed the engineering aspect of the tour. The spent a bit of time telling us the materials that were used in creating the floats. This is a "float" that is powered by a bicycle. You can see that it is going to be a car of some sort. They use steel bars and chicken wire for the frame. The frame is covered with muslin, primed and painted before it is ready to go.

Peanut loved the princess carriage. Apparently the base of the carriage as donated by an Amish family. Our tour guide also mentioned that they rent the carriage out for weddings!

Here Peanut is getting her picture snapped with the carriage.

Here is another piece of the parade that I remember seeing over the years. These are rolled down the street by people dressed as clowns.

Here is a shot of the adorable Sesame Street float. I miss the days that my kids got excited over Elmo and Big Bird. SIGH...

And of course, the exciting part of the parade for little ones...when Santa makes his way down Woodward Avenue. Although the last couple years have me reassessing the whole "Santa" thing, I do adore the images of Santa and his workshop.

This is the float that Santa actually rides in on. Cute huh?

Here is one final float that Peanut liked and I thought it was cute as well. It is an "aquarium".

Anyway, what annual traditions do you have for Thanksgiving? Growing up our family tradition included going to my grandparents, watching the Thanksgiving Day parade, eating a wonderful dinner and relaxing.


Kelly said...

We ALWAYS have Thanksgiving with all my Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins at my Grandparent's house. We are headed there this year but next year will be the first year I won't have been there that I can remember. Therefore, we have never seen the Detroit parade. Thanks for sharing your memories.

Crystal said...

For the record, I've never gone to Detroit to watch the parade. I've only ever watched it on TV. My husband and I have talked about going down there at least once while the kids are young though.

Crystal said...
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