HOUSTON – Thanksgiving is here, which means it's time for the 69th annual H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade.
The parade is a tradition for many families in the Houston area and has been since 1949, when it was launched.
Ana Gill has been attending the parade for 15 years.
“The parade is full of color, joy and it’s ready,” Gill said. “It makes us ready for Christmas so it’s part of the holidays.
“We’ve been out here since 6 a.m. … It’s a tradition for us,” said Elizabeth Garcia, another parade-goer who has been attending for nine years. “We started telling my brother and his family. And pretty much we started coming.”
According to the parade's website, the tradition began “when Santa arrived at Union Station and rode his sleigh to the downtown Foley’s.”
Since then, the parade has evolved and grown, but it is still a celebration of the holiday that showcases the Houston community and culture.
The parade started at 9 a.m. Thursday and featured Astro Jose Altuve and the Rockets’ James Harden as grand marshals; balloons like Underdog, Garfield and the Lone Star Boot; Budweiser Clydesdales; and the Astros Shooting Stars, among other things.
For Debbie Mitschke and her family it’s all about seeing the participants.
“I grew up in Houston and all my life we came here,” Mitschke said. “They love it. They love the horses, they love the cheerleaders and just to watch their faces as the parade goes by is wonderful."
The parade started at Lamar Street and Smith Street and will circle around back to Smith Street and Dallas Street.
Streets in the area will close at 2 p.m. Wednesday and are scheduled to reopen Thursday at 2 p.m.
The affected roads include:
Walker between Bagby & Smith (two south curb lanes) from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
McKinney between Smith & Louisiana (all lanes) at 9 a.m.
Smith between Walker & Lamar (east & west curb lanes) at 9 a.m.
Louisiana between Dallas & Lamar (east curb lane) at 12 p.m. until Nov. 23 at 5 p.m.
Smith between Rusk & Lamar at 6:00 p.m. (all lanes) until 2 p.m. on Nov. 23
Brazos between Dallas & Lamar (all lanes) at 6 p.m. (Note: East curb lane will remain open)
Walker between Louisiana & Bagby (all lanes) at 6 p.m.
Lamar between Louisiana & Bagby (all lanes) at 6 p.m.
Roads closed starting Thursday, Nov. 22:
Allen Parkway (inbound) between Taft & Bagby
Bagby (northbound) between Dallas & McKinney
Bagby (southbound) between Walker & Clay
Lamar between Louisiana & outbound Allen Parkway at I-45 overpass
Smith between Lamar & Walker
Walker between Smith & Milam
Milam between Walker & Pease
Pease between Milam & Louisiana
Louisiana between Pease & Clay
Clay between Louisiana & Smith
Smith between Clay & Dallas; parade concludes on Smith at Dallas