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November 19, 2018

A go-to guide for the 99th Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade

Info on when the parade starts, this year's special guests (including Gritty) and the weather forecast

Thanksgiving Parades
Thanksgiving parade J. Fusco/Visit Philadelphia™

The oldest Thanksgiving parade in the country is almost 100.

The oldest Thanksgiving Day parade in the country takes place in Philly. This November, the parade turns 99.

For many Philadelphians, standing along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to watch giant balloons and floats pass by is the perfect way to start the holiday.

Below we've created a go-to guide with info on when the parade starts, this year's special guests (including Gritty), the weather forecast and the best place to watch along the route.

RELATED: Amazon is offering same-day delivery for Whole Foods groceries on Thanksgiving | Oprah's 2018 Favorite Things List is largest ever | The wonderful – and occasionally weird – Philly Thanksgiving Day Parade captured in old photos

Need to Know

• Thursday, Nov. 22
• 8:30 a.m. to noon
• Free to attend
• Begins at 20th Street and John F. Kennedy Boulevard
• Majority of the parade takes place on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway
• Ends at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
• 6abc will broadcast live
• Live stream available online via 6abc's website

Weather Forecast

On Thanksgiving, expect clear skies but make sure to bundle up before heading to the parade. 

The forecast for Philadelphia from the National Weather Service predicts Thursday will be sunny, with a high near 30. There will be 12 mph winds.

2018 Parade Zone

The Parade Zone at Eakins Oval, in front of the art museum, is one of the best places to watch the action. This year, American Heritage Credit Union's money machine will be there. Parade-goers can step inside and try to quickly grab as much cash as possible.

Also at the Parade Zone, there will be free coffee, a photo booth, a chance to win an Eagles jersey signed by Carson Wentz, dancing, face painters and balloon artists.

Floats and Balloons

This year's floats include "Pirate's Life" from Ram Trucks, "Fairy Tale" from Geico and "Rollin' on the Riverboat" from NRG Energy. As for balloons, there will be an array of recognizable characters, including Dr. Seuss' Thing 1 and Thing 2, Daniel Tiger, Waldo and Brainy Smurf.

Special Guests

The Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade boasts a large lineup of special guests each year. Below are some of the most notable guests making appearances for the parade's 99th year.

• Gritty – Philadelphia Flyers new mascot
• Ginger Zee from "Good Morning America"
• Mandy Gonzalez – "Hamilton" star
• The Grinch from "Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical"
• Miss America 2019 – Nia Franklin
• Mickey and Minnie Mouse
• Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus
• Eagles cheerleaders
• Garrison Carida – Star Wars cosplay troupe
• Cast of the "The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical"
• Cast of "Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella"
• Cast of "Anastasia"
• Disney couples Rapunzel and Flynn, Tiana and Naveen, and Jasmine and Aladdin
• "American Idol" contestants, including Justin Guarini and Michael Jordan Woodard
• Doug E. Fresh – also known as "The Human Beatbox"

There will also be marching bands, dancers, choirs and other performers to watch for on the parade route.


Metered street parking is free on Thanksgiving, but note that temporary no parking zones will be in effect Thursday, Nov. 22, for the following:

• JFK Boulevard, from 19th Street to 30th Street (both sides of street)
• 20th Street, from Market Street to the Parkway
• Arch Street, between 19th Street and 22nd Street
• Race Street, between 16th Street and 17th Street
• 17th Street, from Vine Street to Race Street
• Eastbound lanes of Vine Street, from 15th Street to 17th Street
• Market Street, from 19th to 21st, will be closed from 4 a.m. to 11 a.m. on parade day

Watch on TV

The 6abc Thanksgiving Day parade has aired on Channel 6 since 1966. 

Those watching the live broadcast on TV have chances to win prizes. Look for keywords to text and win. Prizes include free Dunkin' coffee for a year, tickets to the Eagles game on Sunday, Dec. 23, and a trip to Hawks Cay Resort in Florida.

There's also the option to watch the live stream online via 6abc's website.

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