They were in magic land. They were wide-eyed, asking questions left and right and trying to stay in the group as the nice man with the tall black hat and big smile showed them around The Parade Company.
The “they” were the second graders from Detroit’s Spain Elementary-Middle School the Hub followed around as they were given a sneak preview of the magic behind America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. These kids were some of the more than 275 students Comerica Bank treated to the behind the scenes look at how the floats are built, how the big heads are made, how the clowns are chosen and all the other enchantment that goes into the parade.
They were full of questions. Where do you get foam? How do you get to be a clown? How much do the fat heads weigh?
Our guide was great. He told them they buy the foam … and lots of it. You have to pay to be a clown. It costs $2000 each time and none of the clowns are ever alike. The heads weigh 25-40 pounds. But he told the kids “sometimes they feel like they weigh 100 pounds by the end of the parade,” he said.
But our guide’s best Forest Gump-like line was the Thanksgiving Day Parade is like life … “it has something for everyone … big, small, short, tall, old, young, skinny or fat.”
The Hub had a great time and got caught up in the magic but then all of a sudden we started to feel really old. The guide showed the kids some big heads of famous people. “Does anyone know who Bob Seger is”, he asked. “You are,” piped up one little voice. George Bush? Their eyes glazed over and their little mouths said “who?” But they knew Rosa Parks so they have been studying.
The program was part of the fourth annual Neighborhood Thanksgiving Dinner, presented by the Comerica Charitable Foundation. After touring The Parade Company the students had a traditional Thanksgiving Day dinner and made some terrific Thanksgiving arts and crafts.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the students of Spain School. We’re excited to bring them the magic of the holiday season and celebrate the spirit of Thanksgiving,” said Janice Tessier, president of the Comerica Charitable Foundation. “This has been a wonderful partnership between Comerica and the Thanksgiving Parade. We both have rich histories in Detroit and Comerica is proud to build on this tradition through our support of the Neighborhood Thanksgiving Dinner.”