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Detroit Parade Co. tour

The Detroit Thanksgiving Day Parade is one of the traditions that has remained strong in the streets of that beleagured city. According to the Parade Company's website, it is a 90 year old event that takes 4,500 volunteers and reaches over 100,000 viewers in their homes every year while about a million spectators line the streets. It's a big deal, preluded by parties, music events, and a charity run, all over the city. 

To pull it all off, the parade relies on the Parade Company, which takes all the support, physical and monetary, and manages it until it produces a festivity for the ages! And they do it from the skeleton of an old auto plant building in an unsurprisingly barren part of the city. This warehouse is where they store old floats and build new ones, and they offer group tours of the facility year round, although I can't imagine wanting to go anytime other than November, when the space is crazy with creativity. 

We went last week with our homeschooling field trip group. The tour took the better part of the morning as we were ushered through the facility by a well informed guide. We spied the tracks on the ground from the old assembly line, and noticed the spots where the artsy but poorly planned roof windows tend to leak. We got to take pictures with iconic floats, like Santa's sleigh, and peaked at, but couldn't photograph, the up and coming new floats for this year's parade. The world's largest collection of paper mache heads will stick with me for some time (possibly in nightmares). When we left, nspired and excited for the parade just a couple of weeks away, we were sporting red clown nose parting gifts.


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