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Nov. 20, 2008

Silver Spring Thanksgiving parade to be held Saturday

by Fran Djoukeng, Online Entertainment and Sports Editor
Over 100 local groups will participate in the Nov. 22 Montgomery County Thanksgiving parade in Silver Spring with Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett serving as Grand Marshal and ABC 7 Chief Meteorologist Doug Hill presenting the parade as Master of Ceremonies. The parade is scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m. and will end at noon; News Channel 8 will begin broadcasting live at 10 a.m.
This graphic map outlines the parade route with major intersections, parking locations and roads that will be temporarily blocked. <i>Picture courtesy of Downtown Silver Spring. </i>
This graphic map outlines the parade route with major intersections, parking locations and roads that will be temporarily blocked. Picture courtesy of Downtown Silver Spring.


Features for the parade include various floats representing cartoon characters, large 30-foot helium balloons, dance ensembles and antique cars, according to Desiree Douglas, assistant to the Silver Spring Director of Marketing and Special Events. "The additional attractions, especially the colorful Bolivian dance groups, are more visually appealing for television," Douglas said.

Other groups scheduled to participate include trained dogs, beauty queens, fire engines and mounted police. "Just more floats than last year and the 30-foot character balloons will be great attractions," Susan Hoffman, Marketing and Special Events Manager for Silver Spring, said. Hoffman expects about 15,000 patrons to appear along the parade route.

Following years of tradition, the parade will feature numerous marching bands to entertain the crowd. The Washington Redskins Marching Band and 10 local high school marching bands will perform in the parade, according to Hoffman.

Blair's own marching band will be a part of the parade for the sixth time, which also signals the end of Blair's marching band season. About 50 to 60 members of the band will participate, according to co-sponsor Dustin Doyle. "We like doing community events and the nice exposure from going out there. Students like to get out and put on their uniforms," Doyle said.

The parade route begins at Sligo Avenue, traveling progressively north on Georgia, advancing right on Ellsworth Drive and stopping at the close of Fenton Street. In addition to the parade attractions, as in previous years, Santa Claus will close the parade by arriving on a sleigh and flinging candy canes to the crowd.

Last year's parade was "pretty successful," according to Douglas, and making the parade "smoother for television" is a minor focus.

Free public parking will be available in several garages in the downtown area, including the Town Square Garage located on Ellsworth and the Wayne Avenue Garage.

Douglas feels the Thanksgiving holiday can attract many because of its purpose. "It's a holiday about bringing people together and celebrating family." Overall, Douglas hopes that parade goers will gain "a sense of community pride, especially since Silver Spring is diverse."



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