Thanksgiving Parade is Chicago's grand holiday tradition, which is produced and presented by the Chicago Festival Association. The parade is held on Thanksgiving day starting at State Street in Downtown Chicago, and runs from 8 am until 11 am. It is broadcasted live on WGN-TV and nationwide on the WGN America cable network.
The parade features colorful floats and many festivities as well as live concerts by local and national stars.
The tradition first emerged in 1934, during the Great Depression. Many officials and community leaders in Chicago were looking for ways to boost the economy as well as people's spirit and came up with the idea of a Christmas parade. It proved to be a big success. In 1981, about 100 Santas handed out over 10,000 balloons as hundreds of thousands of people flocked to watch the parade. In 2003 parade was officially renamed into "State Street Thanksgiving Parade."
In 2010, the parade reached a record high audience of 3.75 million. About 350,000 people attended the event on State Street.