Thanksgiving is a good time to discover the family-side of America — an if you’re an international visitor, it’s all the better. You will experience this holiday in unique ways that differ from any other celebration in the world — Thanksgiving celebrations have certainly evolved since the Pilgrims’ days. Here are 7 outstanding Thanksgiving festivities worth experiencing.
1. America’s hometown Thanksgiving festival, Plymouth
Plymouth, Massachusetts is the birthplace of Thanksgiving, so it makes sense for their celebration to have both historical and cultural significance. There are historical reenactments, food markets, concerts and parades. Visitors can explore all sorts of craft goods; from hand-made souvenirs to traditional foods. This incredible festival takes place during the third weekend of November.
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2. Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Manhattan
Looking for something a little more grandiose? Then head to Manhattan. New York’s big parade is 90 years old , and one of the biggest Thanksgiving Day parades in the country. Expect top entertainment from renowned singers, Broadway casts, marching bands, and cheerleaders throughout the route. Seeing the colorful cast of helium-filled balloons float along Central Park the whole way to Macy’s Herald Square is a must-see.
3. Detroit’s Thanksgiving festivities
First off, let’s talk about the America’s Thanksgiving Parade. Just as old as New York’s parade, this is a fantastic procession that goes through the streets of Detroit. It features marching bands, floats, and balloons. But the highlight of this Thanksgiving festival is the arrival of Santa Claus, announcing the coming of the Christmas season.
Detroit also hosts the most insane Thanksgiving race in the country: the annual Fifth Third Turkey Trot. The event is three races in one: a mashed-potato mile, a 5k, and a 10k. These events stand out from other Thanksgiving races due to their costumed runners.
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4. Turkey Night Grand Prix, Los Angeles
Among the great Thanksgiving festivities, this is the one all motor-sports enthusiasts await the most anxiously. Held on Thanksgiving night at various race tracks, it stands out as a major event in the midget car racing series. The event attracts racers from other motorsports as well — this year, it will include participation from NASCAR racer Kyle Larson.
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5. NFL Thanksgiving Games
In most American homes, Thanksgiving has become synonymous with Football gameday. Tailgate parties, music performances, and extreme plays are parts of the fun. The NFL schedules two games– hosted by the Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys — for this special occasion.
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6. Black Friday at the Mall of America, Bloomington
Black Friday shopping is one of the busiest consumer days in America — so much that it’s nearly taking over Thanksgiving itself. Imagine deal seekers busting the doors of the 500+ shops of the biggest mall in America. If you are looking for a head-start in holiday shopping, this is a pilgrimage you must make.
photo credit: Star Tribune
7. Thanks-giving Square, Dallas
Unlike the other Thanksgiving festivities on this list, this is a place, not an event. However, this square has a big beautiful park dedicated to the promotion of giving thanks as a human value. In this sense, it is in harmony with the original spirit of Thanksgiving and the many harvest festivals across the world.
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The square is home to numerous monuments dedicated to thanks-giving, including a chapel and a Hall of Thanksgiving, which retraces the history of the American Thanksgiving tradition.