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Annual Holiday Parade to celebrate all things Pittsburgh

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
| Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015, 9:20 p.m.

Pittsburgh Proud is the theme of the 35th annual WPXI Holiday Parade sponsored by Pittsburgh Public Schools (formerly called Celebrate the Season Parade).

The festivities will begin at 9 a.m. Nov. 28 at 21st Street and Liberty Avenue in the Strip District. From there, participants will make their way onto Grant Street to Fifth Avenue and back onto Liberty and finish on Stanwix Street, Downtown.

Parade organizers say they expect more than 100,000 people to attend.

The parade will salute and celebrate all of the iconic people, places and things that make our city special. Many of the acts are either locals or individuals who have been part of the annual parade. Attendees are encouraged to wear black-and-gold and bring their Terrible Towels.

The main stage area will be in the same spot — along Fifth Avenue, outside the former Macy's department store.

“The parade is a holiday tradition in Pittsburgh and something that kicks off the holiday season for many people Thanksgiving weekend,” parade producer Kim Connolly says. “WPXI is so proud to bring this event to the city year after year and to partner with Pittsburgh Public Schools for the second consecutive year.”

The parade is televised for those who aren't able to make it in person.

Those who are there will enjoy a two-hour parade of festive floats, behemoth balloons — including the return of the large helium Tiffany gift-box balloon — and entertainment from 13 marching bands.

This is the second year Pittsburgh Public Schools is acting as the sponsor.

The first of these holiday parades was in 1980 and sponsored by former department store Kaufmann's. Macy's took over title sponsorship in 2006, making it a “little sister” of sorts to the world-famous Macy's Thanksgiving Parade in New York City. WPXI has been involved since 1985.

Celebrities this year will include Pro Football Hall-of-Famer and former Pittsburgh Steeler Jerome “The Bus” Bettis, who will headline the event along with actor Patrick Warburton of NBC's “Seinfeld” and CBS' “Rules of Engagement” fame. Pittsburgh native, singer and songwriter and NBC's “The Voice” finalist, Chris Jamison, will perform. Members of the Harlem Globetrotters will bring their high energy along with Pine-Richland graduate Meghan Klingenberg, a member of the World Cup champion U.S. Women's Soccer Team.

Pop singer and songwriter Daya from Mt. Lebanon will perform her chart-topping single “Hide Away.” Joanne Rogers, wife of the late Fred Rogers, as well as David Newell (Mr. McFeely), will attend.

Other performers include country singer Chris Higbee; Mark Milovats & the Santa Belle Dancers; Pittsburgh CAPA small jazz vocal ensemble; Pittsburgh CLO Mini Stars; and Pittsburgh Public School students, including alumna singer and actress Marnie Quick.

Mascots Steely McBeam, Iceburgh, Pirate Parrot and the Pierogies will also be part of the festivities.

And we can't forget the most important guest of them all — Santa Claus.

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at jharrop@tribweb.com or 412-320-7889.

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