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Biggest elves, smallest cars liven up Houston Thanksgiving Day parade

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Houston's annual Thanksgiving Day parade in the morning of Nov 28 delighted thousands of viewers with the upbeat theme of “Houston on Parade.” The parade this year was “under new management” after the previous organizer, the Houston International Festival decided not to sponsor the event. But a coalition of organizations, led by the H-E-B grocery chain, stepped up to “talk turkey,” leading over 5 dozen new floats with a 20-foot bird wearing a Pilgrim-style hat and the Houston Children's Chorus singing “On a Wonderful Day like today.”

Indeed, the weather was a much-appreciated change from the two consecutive record-low maximums earlier this week, with no rain or biting wind. Crowds gathered along the entire parade route, starting at Lamar and Smith to Walker, coming east on Walker, south on Milam to Pease, west to Louisiana, north to Clay, and south to Smith and east along Smith Street to Dallas.

The parade featured the world's biggest inflated elves sponsored by Air Liquide along with scores of smaller elves, ginger bread men, Wizard of Oz characters, and a magic bus. There was a huge dinosaur, a gigantic builder,Ronald McDonald, and Texas-sized Christmas presents. The Shriners were present with a large contingent, featuring their celebrated miniature cars and a motorcycle brigade. Several schools sent marching bands, and award-winning cheerleaders performed an acrobatic version of Jingle Bells. Houston Mayor Parker joined the City float along with members of the Houston Symphony Orchestra, and of course, no Thanksgiving Day parade would be complete without a few hints of Christmas, with Nutcrackers, candy canes, and of course, Santa Clause himself.

The Harris County Sheriff's Mounted Patrol brought up the rear to end a delightful start to Thanksgiving in plenty of time for everyone to reach garages, the Metro Red line, and buses to homes of friends and family members, stadiums and big screens for football games and movies before dinner.

Thanks to the City of Houston, H-E-B, and sponsors for continuing a fine tradition in style.

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