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Best Thanksgiving Celebrations And Events For The Family In Detroit

Thanksgiving Parade
(credit: Yana Paskova/Getty Images)

Thanksgiving Day is often considered a day of gratitude. And for many, it is a day of sleeping and eating, and not much else. In Detroit, however, Thanksgiving Day offers a wide range of fun activities for families, most of which involve either turkeys, food or both.

America's Thanksgiving Parade
Woodward Ave.
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 923-7400
www.theparade.orgDate: Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 9:05 a.m.
Price: Free

Celebrating its 86th year, the Thanksgiving parade in downtown Detroit has been a beloved tradition for generations. The parade travels down Woodward Avenue from Mack Avenue to Congress Street. Curbside seating along the parade route is on a first-come, first-served basis and 10,000 grandstand seats are available for purchase. Prices range from $30 to $50, depending on seat location and whether a breakfast package is included. Parade participants include the Big Head Corps, a collection of nearly 300 hand-crafted and restored papier-mache heads; the Distinguished Clown Corps, consisting of over 2,000 community and business leaders who get a chance to show their silly side; and more than 60 floats, bands, balloons, celebrity guests and other acts.

Related: Best Places For Rekindling The Romance In Detroit

Thanksgiving Family Fun Fest
Majestic Theatre Center
4120 Woodward Ave.
Detroit, MI 48201
(313) 833-9700
www.majesticdetroit.comDate: Thursday, November 22, 2012 from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Price: Adults - $20, Kids - $15

For over 50 years, the Majestic Theatre Center has hosted the Thanksgiving morning Family Fun Fest. Enjoy a full breakfast buffet and snag a great seat to watch America's Thanksgiving Parade as it makes its way down Woodward Avenue. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for kids. Proceeds benefit the Coalition on Temporary Shelter. COTS provides emergency shelter, support services and transitional housing for homeless and at-risk individuals and families.

Thanksgiving Classic
Ford Field
2000 Brush St.
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 262-2000
www.detroitlions.comDate: Thursday, November 22, 2012; Kick-off at 12:30 p.m.
Price: Ticket prices vary

Thanksgiving in Detroit means two things: turkey and Lions football. Started in 1934, with a six-year break during World War II, the Thanksgiving Classic has become as much of a Motor City tradition as the parade. Hordes of fans who can't get tickets to the game still head down to Ford Field to tailgate and celebrate with the crowd inside the stadium. For those who aren't able to make the trip downtown, the game will be broadcast on CBS-TV and 97.1 FM.

Turkey Trot, Stuffing Strut and Mashed Potato Mile
Woodward Ave. at Congress St. or Cobo Center
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 247-4149
www.theparade.orgDate: Thursday, November 22, 2012; Parade of Costumes at 7 a.m.; Mashed Potato Mile at 7:30 a.m.; 10K/5K Waves start at 7:45 a.m.
Price: Ranges from $21-$46 depending on event

The annual pre-parade Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot is being held for the 30th year in 2012. Now sponsored by Fifth Third Bank, the event has grown to include not only the 10k Turkey Trot, but also the 5K Stuffing Strut and the Mashed Potato Mile, a one-mile walk/run geared toward kids 12 and under or seniors 65 and up, but fun for the entire family. Wearing a costume is traditional for the race, with over 1,200 runners and walkers dressing up in 2011. The Parade of Costumes awards prizes for originality and execution. After the race, head into Cobo Center to meet up with other runners and enjoy some food and refreshments.

Related: Best Parks For Kids In Detroit

Turkey Trot for a Cause
Summit on the Park
46000 Summit Parkway
Canton, MI  48188
(734) 394-5460
www.canton-mi.orgDate: Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 9 a.m.
Price: Adults - $25, Kids (4-12) - $10

For those runners and walkers who want to pre-burn calories for the Thanksgiving feast but don't want to brave the crowds and traffic of downtown Detroit, head over to Canton for its version of the Turkey Trot, a 5K run/walk for epilepsy. The course goes through Heritage Park and the Pheasant Run golf course for a smooth run or a scenic walk for the entire family. After the race, enjoy refreshments, raffles and awards before heading home for turkey and stuffing.

Jennifer Walker is a freelance writer living in Detroit. She earned her Bachelor's degree in animal science from Michigan State University. Her work can be found at

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