Last-minute preps underway for 6abc Dunkin' Thanksgiving Day Parade

The crowd size is being limited this year due to COVID-19 safety protocols.

Thursday, November 25, 2021
Exclusive preview of the 6abc Dunkin' Thanksgiving Day parade
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Dann Cuellar has an exclusive preview of the 6abc Dunkin' Thanksgiving Day parade.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The country's oldest Thanksgiving Day parade is back live on the Ben Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia after last year's virtual event due to COVID-19.

6abc Dunkin' Thanksgiving Day Parade performers say there is nothing like being back on the stage with the Art Museum as their background.

"We're used to the hustle and bustle of the night before Thanksgiving, and costumes and hair. And we didn't have that last year so I'm so glad we have that this year," said Chauntee Andrews who is the choreographer for Dance for Life in Claymont, Delaware.

SEE ALSO: 6abc Dunkin' Thanksgiving Day Parade: Everything you need to know

Ashton Roxander, a soloist with the Philadelphia Ballet, said he missed the asphalt stage that he has graced for four years.

"All performing arts like this have been sorely missed...It's fantastic to come back and be able to entertain again," said Roxander.

On Tuesday night, we got a preview of the portion of the parade called "The Parade of Unity."

It's been two years since we've been able to enjoy the parade, but also two years since we've had pretty much any parades in the region.

The "Parade of Unity" will feature groups from other local parades.

"It means the world to me. Serving our community in such small ways will translate over into serving our country in the long run," said Mackenzie Greiner, who is representing Drexel's Army ROTC and the Veterans Day Parade.

SEE ALSO: Share your 6abc/Dunkin' Thanksgiving Day Parade memories!

"We appreciate the culture being represented, what it stands for, and just the fact that we're a part of the parade is awesome," said Wanda Dickerson who is representing the Juneteenth Parade.

Norah Bice is representing the St. Patrick's Day Parade.

"To miss those couple years due to Covid and then to be able to come back and do a performance like this is really exciting," she says.

Executive Producer John Best says unity is the theme this year.

"I think this year it's all about community. It's all about having everybody come together on Thanksgiving and bring everybody back to the Parkway," said Best.

SEE ALSO: Meet some of the stars appearing in 6abc Dunkin' Thanksgiving Day Parade

Best says it's going to look a little different this year but he wouldn't give up the details just yet.

The main performance area will also look a little different. There's very limited grandstand seating available with screens now lining the Art Museum side.

The crowd size is being limited due to COVID-19 safety protocols.

"We worked with the city, we understand all of the health requirements. So we're completely in touch with what's necessary to keep everybody safe, but we're at a point where we can do these events safely," said Bernie Prazenica, president and general manager of 6abc.

All people along the route are asked to wear masks this year.

"We know we're asking a lot for people to be masked along the parade route. If you're really uncomfortable doing that, you can stay home, it will be on 6abc. We'll be streaming it on," said John Morris, the vice president of content, development, and innovation for 6abc.

Join the Action News team starting Thanksgiving morning at 8:30 a.m. wherever you watch and stream 6abc.