Houston’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Will Carry On

Houston's Thanksgiving holiday parade will continue — thanks to new sponsorships and intervention from the mayor.

Houstonians were shocked last week to find out the annual Thanksgiving parade had been called off by its organizer, the 
Houston Festival Foundation.

HFF cited financial difficulties in producing the parade. 

Houston Mayor Annise Parker says the Thanksgiving Day parade has been an annual tradition since it was first sponsored by Foley’s in 1949, and the parade will go on this year.

“And we believe that it will be a parade that, while it will be a little different than what we’ve experienced, will be one that will be enjoyable, one that Houstonians will want to come and visit.”

Parker says people expect certain things in a parade — like big balloons, marching bands and, of course, the floats.

But HFF already sold its parade floats to the city of Hidalgo.

“There’s some floats that people go and they look for. Those won’t be there. And we’re in a bit of a scramble to find some floats, but we have some ideas about what we can do to bring floats in. But the other elements of a traditional parade can all be in place and we think it’s going to be a really festive event.”

Parker says some options they’re considering include borrowing floats from other cities, inviting art cars to appear in the parade and maybe holding a design-a-float competition.

Four sponsors contributed more than $400,000 to revive the parade. The sponsors are HEB, Central Houston Civic Improvement, Inc. and its individual members, and the Houston Arts Alliance.


Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson


Laurie is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. Laurie has covered a wide variety of topics for HPM, including the crash of the Space Shuttle Columbia, Hurricanes Katrina and Ike, and numerous elections. She is a frequent contributor to NPR and has been...

More Information