The Chicago Thanksgiving Parade Celebrates 88 Years of Entertaining Families Across the City and Country with Marching Bands, Festive Floats, Staged Performances, and Equestrian Units, All Led by Celebrity Co-Hosts Jen Lilley & Jesse Hutch
Thanksgiving morning, Thursday, November 24, 2022, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.
CHICAGO, IL (October 11, 2022) – The award-winning Chicago Thanksgiving Parade (‘Where grateful hearts gather’) returns on Thursday, November 24, 2022, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. CT, traveling up Chicago’s legendary State Street from Ida B. Wells Drive to Randolph Street. This free family tradition joyfully showcases the best talent from across the nation, including marching bands, festive floats, staged performances, equestrian units, cultural performance troupes, and inflatables, all led by celebrity hosts and a special visitor from the North Pole—offering a celebration with jolly sights and sounds for attendees of all ages.
New for ’22, CW26 will broadcast the entire Parade, airing live on WCIU, Channel 26.1, XFINITY 183|1026, RCN 6/606, WOW 10/207, Dish 26, Direct TV 26, Spectrum Charter 22/616 and U-Verse 10/1010. This year’s Parade will be co-hosted by actors Jen Lilley (Days of Our Lives, Royally Wrapped for Christmas) and Jesse Hutch (Batwoman, Dream Wedding), soon to co-star in the Great American Family network’s B&B Merry, one of the holiday’s most anticipated movies, premiering Sunday, December 4, 2022.
For those seeking an extra-special experience, the Chicago Thanksgiving Parade offers VIP seating providing the best view of the Parade and the opportunity to enjoy the staged-for-TV performances right before their eyes, in addition to the forward-motion parade. Tickets for VIP access to the Chicago Thanksgiving Parade are $60 and available for purchase at www.chicagothanksgivingparade.com.
“CW26 is proud to be the new home of the Chicago Thanksgiving Parade. Our partnership reinforces our commitment to supporting Chicago and creating lasting holiday memories for our viewers,” said Steven Farber, Weigel Broadcasting Senior Vice President of Operations.
Jen Lilley expresses her excitement for hosting: “I am absolutely thrilled to be co-hosting the Chicago Thanksgiving Parade! As an ambassador for the ‘Christmas Is Not Cancelled’ non-profit, which raises funds for families across the nation to receive Christmas gifts, I’m grateful for this opportunity to help spread the word and to spread joy for families and children in need!” Jesse Hutch shares the sentiment: “I look forward to supporting the amazing people of Chicago and hosting the Thanksgiving Parade with Jen. To say that I am thankful is not only true but also fitting for the day of celebration and reflection.”
Attracting hundreds of thousands of spectators each year, the 2022 Chicago Thanksgiving Parade features an eclectic roster of festive participants from across the city and the globe, including:
- Staged live entertainment performances from 8-9 a.m., including American Blues Theater, Ballet Folklorico Sones Mexicanos, Chicago Korean Dance Company, Cirque Experience, country artist Donnie Lee Strickland, Crystal Lake Strikers Drumline, Danza Azteca Xochitl-Quetzal, Korean Performing Arts Institute of Chicago, Huaxing Arts Group, Music Theater Works, and Renacer Boliviano, with more to be announced.
- Marching bands—an annual family favorite of the Parade programming—hail from 19 high schools and universities including the University of Dayton (Dayton, OH), Bishop Noll Institute (Hammond, IN), Bloom Township High School (Chicago Heights, IL), Cross Keys High School (Atlanta, GA), Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. High School (Stonecrest, GA), Heights High School (Houston, TX), Hephzibah High School (Hephzibah, GA), Kankakee High School (Kankakee, IL), Kipp East Academy (New Orleans, LA), LaGrange High School (Lake Charles, LA), Lake Zurich High School (Lake Zurich, IL), Marist High School, New Manchester High School (Douglasville, GA), Northwest High School (Cedar Hill, MO), Sequoyah High School (Canton, GA), Southern Boone County High School (Ashland, MO), Southland College Prep Charter High School (Richton, IL), Southwest DeKalb High School (Decatur, GA), and Thornwood High School (South Holland, IL).
- Specialty Units: 501 st Legion Midwest Garrison, American Blues Theater, Aztec Dance – Xochitl- Quetzal, Ballet Folklorico Yolotzin (East Chicago, IN), Bloom Township High School Choir (Chicago
Heights, IL), Chicago Boyz Acrobatic Team, Chicago Spirit Brigade, Cirque Experience, Crystal Lake Strikers Drumline (Crystal Lake, IL), Heartbeat Music & Performing Arts Academy (San Diego, CA), Jesse White Tumbling Team, Michigan City Soul Steppers Drill Team (Michigan City, IN), Mobile Azalea Trail Maids (Saraland, AL), NASCAR, Ozinga (Mokena, IL), Pro Dance Elite Studios (Algonquin, IL), Renacer Boliviano, Royal Royal (Cincinnati, OH), Sterling Silver Studio (Superior, WI), St. Paul Winter Carnival Royalty & Vulcan Krewe (Farmington, MN), Team Shockwave (Frankfort, IL), The Barefoot Hawaiian (Prospect Heights, IL), The Dancing Den (Longview, TX), Thistle and Heather Highland Dancers (Downers Grove, IL), Unicycling Society of America, Inc. (Garden City, MI), and Windy City Ghostbusters (Lockport, IL).
- Equestrians: American Sidesaddle Association (Aurora, IL), Bertrand’s Miniature Horses (Watseka, IL), Escaramuza las Monarcas (Joliet, IL), Herder Holiday Horses (Frankfort, IL), Ray of Hope Riders (Lowell, IN), and SOUL Harbour Ranch Animal Therapy Program (Barrington, IL).
- Festive Floats: Canadian Pacific, Casa de la Cultura Guatemalteca en Chicago, Chicago Chinese Culture & Art Society, Mid-USA Falun Dafa Association, Punjabi Cultural Society, Santa’s Village, Taipei Economic & Cultural Office in Chicago, and Wu Zhi Lin Performing Arts Association. Notably, the Bradenton, Florida-based Krewe of Europa each year unveils a new float and charity partner at a Parade in the U.S.; this year, the Krewe of Europa has selected the Chicago Thanksgiving Parade for this honor.
- Honored guests: Miss Illinois 2022 Monica Nia-Jones, Miss Illinois Outstanding Teen 2022 Mia Fritsch-Anderson, and Santa Claus!
Chicago Thanksgiving Parade sponsors include Canadian Pacific, CW26, NASCAR, Ozinga, Santa Claus Oath Foundation, Santa’s Village, Sheraton Grand Chicago Riverwalk, and WorldStrides OnStage. For more information and updates about the Chicago Thanksgiving Parade, visit www.chicagothanksgivingparade.com.
About Great American Family Great American Family is America’s premiere destination for quality family-friendly programming,including original holiday movies, rom-coms and fan-favorite series that celebrate faith, family and country. Great American Family is home to year-round seasonal celebrations including Great American Christmas, the network’s signature franchise featuring holiday-themed movies and specials. Founded in 2021, Great American Family is part of the Great American Media portfolio of brands. Follow Great American Family on Twitter: @GACfamilyTV, Facebook: @GACfamilytv and Instagram: @gactv.
About Chicago Thanksgiving ParadeOriginally called the Christmas Caravan in the 1930s, the Parade, now in its 88 th year, was created in 1934 to help lift the spirits of residents suffering through the Great Depression. Since then, it has developed into a full-scale spectacle that celebrates the holiday season. What once started as an attempt to boost Chicago’s economy, has evolved into a cherished holiday tradition for Americans across the country. Over sixteen different cultures will share their enriched traditions with Chicago’s Parade this Thanksgiving morning. The sights on State Street give the audience a chance to travel the world and embrace other traditions, all without leaving downtown Chicago. Follow Chicago’s Thanksgiving Parade on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Photo captions (all courtesy of Chicago Thanksgiving Parade): (from left) Jen Lilley, Jesse Hutch, Teddy Turkey Balloon from previous Chicago Thanksgiving Parade, Hromovytsia Ukrainian Dance Ensemble from previous Chicago Thanksgiving Parade.
Media contact: Beth Silverman I President I The Silverman Group, Inc.
213 W. Institute Place, Suite 501, Chicago, IL 60610
312.560.4783 (cell) │ www.SilvermanGroupChicago.com
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