Participant Guidelines

Thank You for Your Interest in Performing in the Chicago Thanksgiving Parade

Please carefully read the following Parade rules and  regulations, terms and conditions

  1. You are preparing to apply to participate in the Chicago Thanksgiving Parade. If accepted, you agree to follow and abide by all Parade rules and regulations.
  2. While in Staging, on Route, in Disband, or any indoor or outdoor Parade operational area, Parade Participants, Volunteers, Spectators, Vendors, Sponsor representatives, and Staff will be required to follow the City of Chicago, State of Illinois, and United States Government regulations regarding health and safety protocols for COVID-19.  If a private venue is part of the indoor or outdoor Parade operational area, COVID-19 health and safety protocols mandated by the venue must be followed.
  3. By submitting an application, you consent to receive electronic communication from CFA Events and the Chicago Thanksgiving Parade via Mailchimp. If you unsubscribe from our Mailchimp communication, you will not receive important information regarding the Parade. We never sell or share your personal information.
  4. CFA Events does not accept every applicant.
  5. CFA Events reserves the right to accept or reject any Parade unit application.
  6. The application serves as a waiver of release for your organization and/or Parade unit. By signing the application, you are thus signing the waiver and agreeing to the terms therein.
  7. All accepted organizations must provide CFA Events a certificate of insurance naming CFA Events as additional insured. Your organization assumes responsibility for your participants.
  8. All accepted units are responsible for all their costs/expenses associated with performing in the Parade.
  9. All accepted units in need of lodging are required to stay at the Sheraton Grand Chicago.
  10. All high school marching bands in need of lodging are required to make their arrangement through WorldStrides OnStage.
  11. All forward motion units requiring a rolling sound system must obtain the system from Creative Soundz.
  12. All participants must dress in themed costumes, outfits, or uniforms. This policy includes all Parade unit escorts or chaperones. Only one (1) adult escort per fifty (50) participants can march with the unit.
  13. Parade participants are not allowed to distribute candy, pamphlets, or other materials along the ParadeRoute. CFA Events may give prior approval for distribution along sidewalks (outside of Parade barricades) to spectators.
  14. Baby strollers, wagons, or carts of any kind are not allowed in the line of march.
  15. No vehicles are allowed on the Parade Route with participating units unless approved by the CFA Events.
  16. All vehicles approved to be in the Parade must be licensed, registered, and insured. Proper paperwork must accompany the vehicle at all times.
  17. All approved vehicles in the Parade must have a completed City of Chicago Vehicle Information Form on file with CFA Events and in the vehicle on Parade day.
  18. All drivers must possess a valid operator’s license for the type of vehicle they are driving. All vehicles must have valid insurance, with proof of valid insurance in the vehicle at all times.
  19. Motorcycles and novelty vehicles of any kind are not allowed in the Parade.
  20. CFA Events must approve all animals approved to be in the Parade. City, state, and federal ordinances and laws apply to all participating animals. All equine units must have a negative Coggins test within the past twelve months of the Parade date and have proof of such test at the Parade.
  21. Parade participants must stay in their assigned Staging location unless otherwise instructed by a Parade official. Failure to do so will result in removing your unit from the Parade.
  22. Parade participants must keep pace with the line of march. All units must maintain forward motion during the Parade. No countermarching or other maneuver contrary to the forward progress of the Parade is allowed. Gaps are not allowed to occur.
  23. Parade units are not to stop in the television zone unless otherwise directed.
  24. Parade units must follow instructions from Parade marshals.
  25. Alcoholic beverages and other controlled substances are forbidden on and along the ParadeRoute. This policy includes all Staging, Route, Disband, and all indoor and outdoor operational areas of the Parade. Participants consuming said substances before or during the Parade will not be allowed to participate and will be removed from the line of march.
  26. Use of any political sign, social or political material, or improper use of the American flag is not permitted. Proper use of the flag is governed bythe U.S. flag policy outlined in the U.S. Code. A copy of the U.S. Code may be obtained from CFA Events.
  27. CFA Events must approve any additions or changes made to Parade units after being accepted. Parade units with changes that have not been approved will not be allowed in the line of march.
  28. The Parade staff reserves the right to remove any unit from the line of march for any reason or cause without advance notice.
  29. All units should be prepared to stop and perform during commercial breaks. While some commercial breaks will be longer, you should not plan on performing for more than 1 minute 30 seconds at each stop. Anticipate at least three stops for commercials while on the ParadeRoute.
  30. The Parade will take place rain or shine.

Contact Us

To learn more about performing in the Chicago Thanksgiving Parade, please email us at units@cfaevents.com.

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