Matt Walsh, Graham Elliott, and More at McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade

Chicago Festival Association

Embrace the new cold weather and holiday spirit at the 2016 McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade.

Serving as grand marshal this year is Chicago-born “Veep” star Matt Walsh along with Ronald McDonald. Joining Walsh on the parade route will be “Top Chef” judge Graham Elliott, “Chicago Fire’s” Yuri Sardarov, and “Shameless” star Emma Kenney. Parade goers will enjoy the sounds of some of the country’s great marching bands along with some of your childhood favorite characters like Cookie Monster, Po from “Kung Fu Panda,” and Teddy Turkey. One of the great things to see every year is how they get those enormous helium-filled balloons under the L tracks.

If you’re having trouble picking which of the city’s great productions to attend while you’re in town, the parade has teasers from many of the great shows. Audiences can expect performances from Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey®’s “Out of this World,” Black Ensemble Theater’s “Jackie Taylor’s The Other Cinderella,” “Finding Neverland,” and more.

The State Street Council started the parade in 1934 to boost spirits during the Great Depression, and it has been succeeding in that ever since. The parade does a great job of representing the different types of cultures in Chicago with floats and performances.

The 2016 McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade starts at 8 a.m., so you’ll want to get there early to beat the crowd of hundreds of thousands that usually attend. The parade will take place on State Street from Congress Parkway to Randolph Street. Also, if you can’t make it downtown you can tune into WGN as they will be broadcasting all three hours of the parade. For more information visit

Written By Joel Mora

Joel Mora is editor at Concierge Preferred. Born and raised in Miami, Fl., Joel has slowly ate, drank, and explored his way up north refining all his senses to prepare for the stampede of delicious dining, notorious nightlife, stellar shopping, and captivating culture that calls Chicago home. In the wild he’ll be the red-bearded Cuban with a Lagunitas IPA in his hand.

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