By Anita Oh

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Surrounded by music, views, and familiar characters, many gather for one tradition each year in Philadelphia.

“It’s a top-notch parade —a really good time,”  said John Metzger of Nazareth.

Thousands of people lined up for the 98th annual Thanksgiving day parade, the oldest Thanksgiving parade in the country.

“We’re super excited to be here. We’re not just honored; we’re blessed because it’s Thanksgiving,” said Charles Lowery of Fusion Dance Complex.

Volunteers worked overnight to ensure the 22 balloons in the parade could float along smoothly.

“This is my third year doing this and we just do it to help out,” said volunteer Angelo Ruffo.

It started at 20th and JFK Boulevard then turned up the Ben Franklin Parkway and ended by the Art Museum. Philadelphia Police secured all entrances with large trucks and lined the route with officers.

The parade also included 140 musical acts, dance troupes, and marching bands, including one all the way from Enterprise, Alabama.

Along with cheering for their favorite floats, many spectators also cheered for their favorite team.

“Happy Thanksgiving! Go Birds!” Bridget Beck said.

Eagles cheerleaders also made an appearance.