McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade Returns to Downtown Chicago, Nov 22

McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade Returns to Downtown Chicago, Nov 22

Millions of parade-goers will kick off Thanksgiving Day amidst sky-high balloons, dazzling equestrian units, the nation's top marching bands, talented dance troupes and the best in varied cultural entertainment. This year's McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade will take place LIVE on State Street between Congress Parkway and Randolph Street in downtown Chicago on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 22, from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. (CST). For those not on the street for the cherished annual parade, the festivities will be broadcast live on WGN-9 Chicago and WGN America.

Chicago native and WWE Superstar CM Punk returns this year to spend Thanksgiving morning as the Official Grand Marshal. The Straightedge Superstar has taken his thrill for living the clean life outside of the ring. He has tossed the first pitch at the games of his beloved Chicago Cubs and was the Grand Marshal of the 2008 McDonald's® Thanksgiving Parade. CM Punk's hard work has been rewarded as he is living out his dream as one of the longest reigning WWE Champions of all time. Punk can be seen every week on USA Network's Monday Night Raw at 7c.

Another honored guest that will ride down the parade route on Thanksgiving morning is Chicago native, Jaslene Gonzalez. Gonzalez utilized her experience as the winner of America's Next Top Model, Cycle 8, to develop and refine her craft. She has evolved into one of fashion's most sought-after faces, scoring a multitude of modeling campaigns, ranging from Cover Girl to Garnier Cosmetics, to covers of Ocean Drive, Seventeen, and Latina magazines.

Alongside these celebrities, this year's lineup includes over 100 diverse and remarkable group performances. The high-energy Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® presents Dragons and the always popular Joffrey Ballet are just two of the many amazing groups this year.

Each year, the McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade features top marching bands from all over the country, including Lowndes High School (Georgia), Citrus High School (Florida) and Boardman High School (Ohio). This also includes Chicagoland's best high school bands, featuring performances from Waukegan High School, Proviso East High School, Marist High School and many others.

And what's a parade without horses? Marching the route this year, among many others, will be the Wells Fargo Stagecoach, Ray of Hope Riders and Bertrand's Miniature Horses.

The fantastic giant balloons are back again this year! The twelve balloons include fan favorites such as Mr. Potato Head, Woody Woodpecker and Curious George. Also, the Tom and Jerry Balloons will be premiering at this year's parade. Be sure to watch out for these characters presented by Case New Holland as they head down the parade route.

Originally called the Christmas Caravan in the 1930's, the Parade was created to help lift the spirits of residents suffering through the Great Depression. Since then, it has developed into a full-scale spectacle that celebrates the holiday season. What once started out as an attempt to boost Chicago's economy has evolved into a cherished holiday tradition for Chicagoans and Americans alike. The Parade includes performers and special guests representing every part of the country, as well as some international visitors such as the Nuremburg Christkind.

WGN-9 Chicago will air the Parade live and in high definition from 8 to 11 a.m. (CST) on Thursday, November 22. WGN America will also broadcast the Parade nationally, establishing it as one of only three parades in the country to be covered live, in its entirety, on a national television broadcast (along with Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade® in New York City, New York and The Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, CA). CLTV will rebroadcast the parade from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. (CST)

Supporting sponsors of the McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade includes McDonald's® Owner Operators of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana, Case New Holland, and MB Financial Bank.

McDonald's Owner Operators of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana represent more than 100 owner/operators and nearly 500 restaurants throughout the greater Chicagoland region, including stores as far north as Gurnee, west as Morengo, south as Watseka, and east to Northwest Indiana. MOCNI manages and facilitates all marketing, sports, community relations, educational and philanthropic programs throughout the region, and is responsible for implementing and maintaining consistency at every Chicagoland restaurant.

CNH Global N.V. is a world leader in the agricultural and construction equipment businesses. Supported by approximately 11,300 dealers in approximately 170 countries, CNH brings together the knowledge and heritage of its Case and New Holland brand families with the strength and resources of its worldwide commercial, industrial, product support and finance organizations. CNH Global N.V., whose stock is listed at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE:CNH), is a majority-owned subsidiary of Fiat Industrial S.p.A. (FI.MI). More information about CNH and its Case and New Holland products can be found online at www.cnh.com.

MB Financial Bank is a locally-operated financial institution that has been delivering competitive personalized service for 100 years to privately-owned companies and to individuals who live and work in the Chicago metropolitan area. MB Financial Bank's holding company, MB Financial, Inc., is traded on the NASDAQ as "MBFI." MB Financial has approximately $10 billion in assets. For more information visit www.mbfinancial.com.

The Chicago Festival Association is a non-profit organization with the mission of producing community events that positively impact the people of the city of Chicago, our guests and visitors. With a full-time staff augmented by over a thousand hard-working volunteers, the Chicago Festival Association strives to ensure the best in free family-entertainment for the millions of spectators in Chicago and across the nation.

The McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade takes place rain or shine, Thursday, November 22, from 8 to 11 a.m., on State Street, in Chicago. For more information about the McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade, please contact Chicago Festival Association at (312) 239-0457 or log on to www.chicagofestivals.org.

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