Photos from the Thanksgiving Day Parade in Philadelphia capture the true holiday spirit

if you’re looking for something that captures the spirit of the holiday season, the Philadelphia event offers it.

Alma from the PBS Kids series 'Alma's Way'

Nanda Guntupalli for Billy Penn

The idea for a Thanksgiving parade originated in 1920 in Philadelphia, thanks to the Gimbels department store. In the intervening century, a city in the north stole the thunder and presented a scintillating Turkey Day spectacle that is broadcast across the country.

But if you’re looking for something that captures the spirit of the day, Philly’s Parade is better.

Thanksgiving has roots in colonialism and remains inseparable from capitalism (that first parade was all marketing and the holiday is now considered to kick off the shopping season), but the holiday is being reclaimed. Many Americans use it as an opportunity to reflect, give back, and thank family, friends, and life.

The Philadelphia parade conveys that gratitude for the everyday existence we all share.

The floats are a bit frumpy. The celebrities are local: this year they included Gritty, Jeopardy champ Ryan Long, and — in a coup of sorts, since she’s pretty famous now — Quinta Brunson of “Abbott Elementary.” But the volunteers pulling the balloons, the high school students marching in the bands, the spectators lining the sidelines, everyone involved laughing and cheering.

On a perfectly sunny day, the city gave itself an opportunity to be thankful.

Scroll down to see photos of the homey, colorful, and very Philly 6ABC Dunkin’ Thanksgiving Day Parade.

A high school trombonist smiles
Nanda Guntupalli for Billy Penn
Smurfette makes her way down the Parkway
Nanda Guntupalli for Billy Penn
A father and child pose with a Philadelphia Fire Department truck
Nanda Guntupalli for Billy Penn
A family poses with Eagles cheerleaders
Nanda Guntupalli for Billy Penn
mr.  Potato Head is a crowd favorite
Emily Cohen for WHY
The Eagles drumline marched in the parade
Nanda Guntupalli for Billy Penn
thanks parade2022-07
Nanda Guntupalli for Billy Penn
A float called 'Rollin on the River' is sponsored by Pennie, the state's health insurance marketplace
Nanda Guntupalli for Billy Penn
Spectators along the route brought chairs or simply plopped down on blankets
Nanda Guntupalli for Billy Penn
The parade drew a large crowd on a spotlessly sunny day
Nanda Guntupalli for Billy Penn
Scouts from the Philadelphia area collect food donations along the parade route
Emily Cohen for WHY
Leonardo from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Emily Cohen for WHY
The Huddleston brought an inflatable couch and chairs
Emily Cohen for WHY
Protesters holding the Christmas tree balloon spin in a circle
Emily Cohen for WHY
Pups Ava and Lilly enjoy the parade
Emily Cohen for WHY
Soft pretzels are sold along the parade route
Emily Cohen for WHY
The Pride of Salem Marching Band from Salem Virginia
Emily Cohen for WHY
'Abbot Elementary' star Sheryl Lee Ralph waves to fans
Emily Cohen for WHY
Decatur Central High School Marching Band and Guard from Indianapolis
Emily Cohen for WHY
Here comes Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus, with reindeer jumping over a roof
Nanda Guntupalli for Billy Penn

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