Participant Guidelines

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

Please carefully read the following parade rules and regulations


  1. You are preparing to submit an application to participate in the Chicago Thanksgiving Parade.  If accepted, you agree to follow and abide by all parade rules and regulations.
  2. CFA Events does not accept every applicant.
  3. CFA Events reserves the right to accept or reject any parade unit application.
  4. The application serves as a waiver of release for your organization. By signing the application, you are thus signing the waiver and agreeing to the terms therein.
  5. All accepted organizations must provide CFA Events a certificate of insurance naming CFA Events as additional insured.  Your organization assumes responsibility for your participants.
  6. All accepted units are responsible for all their own cost/expenses associated with performing in the parade.
  7. All accepted units in need of lodging are required to stay at the Sheraton Grand Chicago.
  8. All high school marching bands in need of lodging are required to make their arrangement through WorldStrides OnStage.
  9. All forward motion units requiring a rolling sound system must obtain the system from Creative Soundz.
  10. All participants must be in appropriately themed costumes, outfits or uniforms. This includes all parade unit escorts or chaperones. Only one (1) adult escort per fifty (50) participants will be allowed to march with the unit.
  11. Parade participants are not allowed to distribute candy, pamphlets or other materials along the parade route. Prior approval may be given by CFA Events for distribution along sidewalks (outside of parade barricades) to spectators.
  12. Baby strollers and children’s wagons are not allowed in the line of march.
  13. No vehicles are allowed on the parade route with participating units unless approved by the CFA Events.
  14. All approved vehicles in the parade must by licensed, registered and insured.  Proper paperwork must accompany vehicle at all times.
  15. 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.
  16. All drivers must possess a valid operator’s license for the type of vehicle they are driving. All vehicles must have valid insurance.
  17. Motorcycles and novelty vehicles of any kind are not allowed in the parade.
  18. All animals must be approved by CFA Events. City, state, and federal ordinances and/or laws apply to all participating animals. All equine units must have a negative Coggins test within the past twelve months of the date of the parade and have proof of such test at the parade.
  19. Parade participants must stay in their assigned staging location unless otherwise instructed by a parade official. Failure to do so will result in your unit being pulled from the parade.
  20. Parade participants must keep pace with the line of march. All units must maintain forward motion during the parade. No counter marching or other maneuver contrary to the forward progress of the parade is allowed. Gaps are not allowed to occur.
  21. Parade units are NOT to stop in the television zone unless otherwise directed.
  22. Parade units must follow instructions from parade marshals.
  23. Alcoholic beverages and other controlled substances are forbidden on and along the parade route. This policy includes all staging and disband areas. Participants consuming said substances prior to or during the parade will not be allowed to participate and will be removed from the line of march.
  24. 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 based upon U.S. flag policy set forth in the U.S. Code. A copy of the U.S. Code may be obtained from CFA Events.
  25. Any additions or changes made to parade units after being accepted must be approved by CFA Events. Parade units with changes that have not been approved will not be allowed in the line of march.
  26. The parade staff reserves the right to remove any unit from the line of march for any reason or cause without advance notice.
  27. 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 parade route.
  28. 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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