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73rd Annual H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade marches on for first time in three years

Hundreds of thousands of people watched the colorful floats, high-flying balloons and marching bands along the parade route.

HOUSTON — Another successful Houston’s H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade is in the books! 

A lot of people were crossing their fingers and holding their breath with hopes that lightning wouldn't force organizers to cancel the parade for the second straight year. 

Thankfully, the weather cooperated and the parade moved full steam ahead much to the delight of hundreds of thousands of people who took a chance and braved the rainy morning to watch it in person. 

It's a good thing too since Grand Marshal Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson packed a big promise in the pre-parade ceremony.

“This parade, this year, Houston, it’s going to be the biggest and the best,” Jackson said of his adopted hometown. “You’ve got to come check me out.”

Not long after he amped up the crowds, they heard the roar of confetti cannons instead of thunder. 

There were 14 colorful floats, 20 high-flying balloons and several marching bands along the parade route. The crowd was also treated to some terrific performances from singers, including H-Town's own Bun B, and dancers too.

"Yeah, dancers were amazing, and I loved all the floats," one little girl told us.

Orbit on a float with the World Series Trophy was also greeted with loud applause.  

It was the parade’s 73rd year, making it one of the oldest Thanksgiving Day parades in the country.

It's the first parade since 2019 thanks to lightning last year and COVID the year before. The third time was the charm and people in the crowd said it was worth the wait!

“We had a blast!” Carol Hernandez said.

“It was just awesome!” Jacqueline Muncy told us.

In Houston, the parade is as big a part of Thanksgiving as the turkey, stuffing and pecan pie.

“I have been coming down here since I was a kid," Carol Deweese said.

And now Houstonians who grew up watching the parade every year are bringing their own children and grandchildren. 

Close call!

Any strike within a 10-mile radius would have led to a cancellation. That’s what happened last year just minutes before the parade was set to start. The year before, in 2020, the parade was canceled due to COVID.

This is why everyone was keeping a close eye on the forecast and hoping the weather cooperated and it did for the most part.

The parade was hosted by KHOU 11’s Ron Trevino and Great Day Houston’s Debra Duncan. You can watch it again here and on KHOU11+ on Roku and FireTV

Who was the Grand Marshal?

Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson is a rapper, philanthropist and entrepreneur who became a Houston resident last year and has really embraced what it means to be a Houstonian. He has donated a lot of time and money into fostering leadership skills in Houston youth and he has given back to the community with turkey drives and more. 

Dr. Peter Hotez, a health expert with the Baylor College of Medicine who spent countless hours guiding the country through the COVID pandemic, was a special guest at the parade. Hotez was last year's grand marshal but didn't get to lead the parade since it was canceled. 

How to watch it again?

Watch the parade through downtown Houston again for free on KHOU11+ on Roku and FireTV, here on KHOU.com and on our YouTube channel.  

This year's sponsors include HCA Houston Healthcare, Hyatt Regency, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Highland Village and of course, KHOU 11.

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