New York may host the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, but New Orleans has something better: the Bayou Classic.
This New Orleans Thanksgiving parade features lively bands, dancers and a seemingly unlimited supply of plastic beads. We enjoyed watching this year’s procession on a bright and sunny day in the French Quarter, with temperatures hitting the high 70s. It was a stark contrast to the televised Macy’s parade in Manhattan, with its winter coat-clad spectators.
If you are in New Orleans for the Thanksgiving holiday next year, don’t miss this lively and free event!
>> Scroll down for photos of the 2012 Bayou Classic Thanksgiving Parade.
We haven’t experienced Mardi Gras in New Orleans, but the Bayou Classic seems like a G-rated (but equally upbeat) version of the hedonistic festival.
Middle school, high school and college marching bands strutted down Decatur Street in a twirl of pom poms and batons.
Spectators waved and cheered at floats, hoping to be thrown beaded necklaces. We had about 15 beads each by the end of the parade; even the dogs were wearing them.
It’s hard to top the fashion sense of New York City pooches, but this local dog came close!
The parade attracted a diverse group of performers, including this dancer on stilts.
The quest for beads drove young spectators into a frenzy. An elementary school boy standing next to us lunged every time beads were thrown, even pushing aside another child to score more of the plastic jewelry. I fell prey to bead hysteria too; after missing my first throw, I looked so sad that another spectator gave me a string of his beads!
The bead race pitted sister against brother, as some families saw an unequal distribution of the jewels.
The marching bands and dancers wore impressive costumes, ranging from traditional band gear to golden helmets and caps with faux mowhawks.
What’s your favorite New Orleans attraction?
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