Turkey Day

After 2 Long Years, the H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade Is Back

And it brings floats, balloons, bands, and a special performance.

By Shelby Stewart

The H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade is back this year with 50 Cent as the Grand Marshal. 

After a 2-YEAR HIATUS, Houston's signature kickoff to holiday season is back with its sleigh bells in tow. Entering its 73rd year, the H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade has a colorful history, beginning in 1949 when Santa arrived at Union Station and rode his sleigh to the downtown Foley's department store.

Since the City of Houston took ownership of the parade in 2013, the parade has been fully canceled twice: first in 2020 due to COVID, then due to inclement weather in 2021. Parade-goers, float enthusiasts, and the iconic Apache Belles hope this year's event marks a return to form. 

"As we celebrate our blessings this year, let us reflect on Houston as a vibrant and welcoming global city that values diversity and inclusion. This year's Thanksgiving Day parade will highlight some of the most incredible talent, floats, and marching bands in the history of the parade," Mayor Sylvester Turner said in a statement. "We are thrilled to host this wonderful tradition downtown again, and I look forward to seeing smiles on the faces of children and adults enjoying the parade."

Despite cancellations, organizers are confident this year will be the best yet. The parade’s theme will spread holiday cheer and honor the people who make Houston a great city this year. Here's everything you need to know. 

When is the H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade? 

The family-friendly parade will take place Thursday, November 24, at 9 a.m.

How long is the parade?

The parade route will span over 20 city blocks throughout Downtown Houston, beginning at Smith and Lamar streets and concluding at Smith and Dallas streets.

Who is the Grand Marshal?

The parade's 2022 Grand Marshal is Houston transplant and media mogul Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson. He will be joined by Mayor Turner and health expert Dr. Peter Hotez, who’s getting a do-over after 2021’s last-minute cancellation. The trio will lead the parade on the Tom Turkey float. 

Who will host the parade?

Deborah Duncan of Great Day Houston and KHOU 11 anchor Ron Treviño will emcee the parade. 

Who will perform?

The parade will include the first look at some performances from Theatre Under the Stars’ (TUTS) production of Mary Poppins, which will come to Houston in December. The Apache Belles, who have performed at the parade for 26 years, will celebrate their 75th anniversary as a group. The show's star will be rapper Bun B this year, which adds to his long list of accomplishments. 

What else can we expect? 

The parade brings 20 high-flying balloons plus 14 unique floats, which include Santa Claus and Tom Turkey. Several marching bands, drill, and dance teams from all over the state will accompany the procession. 

How much does it cost?

The H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade is free and open to the public. Premium seats are available, but tickets are limited. Tickets can be purchased at the parade’s official website for $28 each. 

Can I volunteer?

Suppose you'd like to engage in the parade as more than just an onlooker. In that case, parade organizers are currently seeking volunteers to fulfill roles like balloon handlers, banner carriers, parade marshals, seating and ADA ushers, and back lot operators. To volunteer, visit the City of Houston’s website

How can I watch the parade?

On the day of the parade, there will be ample curbside space along the route for lawn chairs and blankets. However, if you stay home to keep an eye on your own turkey, the parade will be broadcast live on the CBS local station KHOU 11. 

What about parking?

Easy access parking will be available along the parade route, and Metro buses will operate on a holiday schedule. For more information on the bus schedule, visit Metro’s website

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