PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Thanksgiving Day will be celebrated with parades all over the country, but the first one ever took place right here in Philadelphia. This year’s parade marks the 97th installment of the annual tradition.
An incredible amount of planning goes into the parade. About 18 months and 1,000 volunteers help make it happen. Co-producer Todd Marcocci says even simple things like getting performers to the starting line can be difficult.
“It comes down to the logistics of where the buses park and how they park and what route they get to the parking,” he explained, “you know, what time the performers have to be here for rehearsals.”
There are 22 marching bands, 17 floats and 17 massive balloons in the parade. Marcocci says each group gets a full itinerary about three weeks before showtime.
“It is overwhelming to do, but we want to make sure people come here with no questions,” he said. “So it comes down to communication and making sure that everything goes as planned.”
And Marcocci says for the first time ever, an ice sculpture will be on a float at the parade. What challenges does that present?
“Let’s see. Weight, weight distribution, obviously temperature and making sure that the float doesn’t melt by the time it gets to the telecast area,” Marcocci said.
Crews will be out all night working on the ice sculpture and putting the finishing touches on the performance area.
“One time a year we get to transform the Art Museum steps, street, all of the area, just into a display of different pieces of art for the holidays,” Marcocci said.
And they are already planning the 100th parade in 2019.