HOUSTON — The H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade is back and this year the parade is starting off with a bang.
The parade will start at 9 a.m. on Nov. 25.
Cirque du Soleil's Alegria will start the parade with a performance. Spectators will then see no less than 14 floats, 20 high-flying balloons and high-energy performances from marching bands, according to parade sponsors.
And what's a Thanksgiving Day Parade without Santa?
Who is the H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade Grand Marshal?
This year's Grand Marshal is Dr. Peter Hotez. Hotez is a vaccine expert with the Baylor College of Medicine who has spent countless hours doing interviews to help guide the country through the pandemic. Some of his interviews can be seen on CBS Morning News and CNN.
This year's parade will honor and celebrate frontline workers including healthcare professionals, teachers and essential workers.
The parade was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, Turner and sponsors put together a drive-thru Thanksgiving Day meal distribution to feed hundreds of families.
Where and how to watch the H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade?
The Parade will happen in downtown Houston and is free. There are a limited number of seats available at the parade's starting route. Those interested in those seats can purchase tickets here.
This year's sponsors include McDonald's, Hyatt Regency, Goya, HCA Houston Healthcare, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Highland Village, Air Liquide, and of course, KHOU 11.
You can be more than just a spectator of the parade. Volunteers are needed in the following areas:
- Balloon Handlers
- Banner Carriers
- Parade Marshals
- Seating Ushers
- ADA Ushers
- Back Lot
If interested in volunteering, click here.
The parade began in 1949 when Santa arrived at Union Station and rode his sleigh to the downtown Foley's. Since then, the Thanksgiving Day parade has gone through a few changes but today, it remains a holiday tradition showcasing the Houston community and entertaining parade-goers lining the streets on Thanksgiving morning.
Take a look back at parades past!
Check out this slideshow of the 2018 H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade.