Category Archives: Thanksgiving

November 27, 2008: Detroit Thanksgiving Day Parade

This year’s Detroit Thanksgiving Day Parade is on November 27, 2008 in downtown Detroit.  It’s run by The Parade Company, and the parade has been going since 1924.  The parade was originally sponsored by the J. L. Hudson’s Department Store.

The grand marshall of this year’s parade is …, a … from … notable for …. (photo) (links)

The parade route is …, similar/different to last year’s route.  Some good places to view it include …

You can see a photo set from the 2007 parade on Flickr at …

One of the highlights of this parade is the Fred Hill Briefcase Drill Team from Plymouth, Michigan.  The team is led by …, a (CPA?) from (city) who has assembled a precision team of xxx-clad accountants.  Here’s a brief video:

I sent Fred a few questions – here’s his replies.

When did you start the Briefcase Drill Team, and what was your first parade?

Do you know of any other groups like this around the country?

What do you look for in a briefcase for the team – are they standard issue or custom built?

How much do you practice before the parade, and where do you recruit team members from?

Imagine “extreme briefcase sports” – what does this look like?

Thanks Fred for the answers!

More information:

From previous years: 2007, 2006, 2005 … parade notes.
Television schedule: channel xxx hosted by xxx
History of the parade: …
Other parades in the area include the April 2009 Festifools parade in Ann Arbor.

Coverage by AmericaJR



November outlook – key words, themes, trends

Holiday traffic is seasonal, and we are in the post-Halloween, post-election, pre-Thanksgiving, pre-Christmas season now.  Just look at the typical retail display which is already showing holiday stuff.

Based on a study of the last three year's worth of traffic to this blog, here's some things you can anticipate me writing between now and the end of November, in part because I'll write it down because I need to know it, and in part because it's just that time of the year.  A wildcard that I don't have is any long experience with a political transition, so I'll throw in something in that slot.

Food and drink – recipes suitable for Thanksgiving and the season, including vegetarian and vegan side dishes; if there's time I'll recap one year's Tofu Turkey but we probably won't make one this year.

Farmer's Market – even though the season is drawing to a close, I'm still there every Saturday with Saul – we'll make sure to take good notes.  It's particularly fun to cook with the local food bloggers since they are shopping at the same place.

Michigan Football – it's getting to the end of a long dim season, and so there should be at least something to say, even if it's just construction photographs, entertaining accounts of 19c interstate border warfare, and parking price updates.

Change – change is in the air, so there's probably enough to create a new category to deal with that.  "embrace change" (picture of a hand grabbing a fistful of quarters).

[Category name] – Last year, the most popular page in the [category name] category was [post title], so I'll expand on that and explore [related topics].

Here's some helpful graphs to help you see when things happen in the mass consciousness, as measured by Google trends.  Here is Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Hanukkah:


and here's football vs. hockey (US only to remove "soccer" traffic):


Picking a hotel with Hotwire and the help of the net

I’m about to do some travel, and I don’t really care precisely where I stay as long as it’s reasonable; here’s some notes on that process.

When you go to get a hotel on Hotwire, it doesn’t tell you exactly which property you’re going to stay at. That’s mostly OK except when the hotel inventory includes some stinker places you’d really rather never go to again. Here’s one part of how to figure out what they’re selling you.

Better Bidding is a forum for Priceline and Hotwire users to exchange information about which hotel they’re getting when they bit through those services. The Better Bidding Pittsburgh page lists star ratings, locations, and amenities of featured sites, plus for Priceline how much people paid.

To look at general hotel reviews, one source is Tripadvisor. The Tripadvisor Pittsburgh page gives lists of what things other travelers (or perhaps paid shills, who can tell) have said about places. You can’t trust any individual review any more than any random Amazon review, but in the aggregate they’re a good display of alternatives.

I have yet to find a travel site that does good pricing and availability for travel along a route, the question we run into every year where we want a room somewhere between the Bridge and West Branch that’s nice and pretty cheap. If you know where you’re going to stay, and it’s a big city, and you’re willing to dig a little, there are some deals.

Harnois Farms local turkey for Thanksgiving 2007

From Kim Bayer via Kelly Dunham:

Dear Slow Food Supporter:

This year, Harnois Farm will be once again be offering a Community

Supported Agriculture (CSA) program for those interested in

purchasing a heritage turkey for the holidays. Through the CSA,

customers put down a deposit of $25 by October 15th to reserve their

turkey. In the end, CSA members will pay $8/lb, while non-CSA members

will pay $10/lb. John Harnois anticipates that he’ll have 48

Narragansetts available this year.

John will also have about 50 pasture-raised Broad-breasted White

turkeys available for the holidays. These are not the Broad-breasted

birds found at your local supermarket! They are succulent AND

flavorful. The Broad-breasted White turkeys will be $3.50/lb.

John, who raises an assortment of rare and conventional birds with

the help of his nine-year-old son, manages his farm as a model of

proper land stewardship and animal husbandry. The birds are given

free access to the outdoors where they can scratch and peck about as

they please and at night they’re tucked away safely into a coop to

protect them from predators. John even takes his birds to local

schools where he teaches the kids about what it really means to be a

good steward of the farm and animals. As he says, “I love my birds.”

Harnois Farm was featured in Business Week last fall:

If you would like to purchase a share, please send your name,

address, phone number, and size preferences (small = 8-12 lbs; large

= 13-18 lbs) to no later than October 15,

2007. While size is not guaranteed, John will accommodate your

preferences as much as possible. The turkeys will be available for

pick-up the weekend before Thanksgiving.

Questions? Send us an email or give Kelly Dunham a call at

734-761-2333. Please pass this on to anyone else who might be


Make sure to order your turkeys early! All turkeys are available on a

first-come, first-served basis.

Warm regards,


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Stuffed Winter Squash

We bought a case of winter squash from farmer’s market for $5 before Thanksgiving, and we’re still eating them. They’re delicious just plain baked, and we had stuffed squash for Thanksgiving. I don’t think the box will last through to the new year.

I know that stuffing is something handed down from generation to generation and carefully guarded as a Thanksgiving secret, but that’s behind us now and there are all those lovely squashes needing something to keep them company.

Here’s a roundup of stuffed squash recipes from the net, and I’d love any reviews you have of them or your favorites.

Amy Rosen, from Cook This: apple, celery, pecans, sage, bread crumbs, havarti cheese

adaped from The Vegetarian 5-Ingredient Gourmet: red onion, almonds, ginger

Food Reference fruit and nut stuffing: onion, celery, apples, bread crumbs or rice, nuts, seed, dried fruit

Vegan Stuffed Organic Squash from ChooseVeg: rice, onion, celery, pecans, apricots, cranberries

Chowhound asks What Can I Stuff Acorn Squash With? aged cheddar cheese, mashed potatoes, cheese top

Better Homes and Gardens Vegetarian: pears, green onions, ricotta, raisins, pine nuts, lemon zest, nutmeg

Wow, and there’s 1000s more.

Some themes emerge: a starch (bread crumbs, panko, rice, mashed potatoes) plus a sweet (apples, apricots, cranberries, pears) plus a savory (pecans, almonds, pumpkin seeds, cheese) plus spices to taste. Sounds like time for some Google cooking.

As we experiment I’ll add to these!

Detroit Thanksgiving Day Parade 2006

The Detroit Thanksgiving Day Parade has a new route this year. The Parade steps-off in Midtown at Woodward and Mack Avenues on Thursday, November 23 at 9:20 a.m. and ends in downtown Detroit at Woodward Avenue and Congress Street. A dozen marching bands, the Fred Hill Briefcase Drill Team, and other performers travel down Woodward, starting in front of the Detroit Public Library all the way down to Grand Circus Park. The floats will be on display at the Michigan State Fairgrounds in Detroit Friday through Sunday at the Holidays on Parade festival. Watch the show on WDIV TV 4. Shuttle service from the Detroit Zoo, Eastland Mall, Fairlane and the Town Center starting at 9:30am for a small fee. Call (313) 923-7400 for more details.

Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom will be grand marshal; his family doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving (they’re Swedish) but he understands his job: “Smile and wave”.

The first parade in 1924 had four bands, huge heads carried on the shoulders of marchers, 10 floats depicting nursery rhymes, and bands from Highland Park, Hamtramck and Northwestern high schools. Floats included The Old Lady Who Lived in a Shoe and Mother Goose. Detroit’s Thanksgiving Day parade was modelled on Toronto’s parade, after the display manager at the J.L. Hudson Company heard that Santa arrived at Eaton’s department store in an old-fashioned carriage.

The Detroit Lions play the Miami Dolphins at 12:30pm at Ford Field in a nationally televised NFL game.

In Ann Arbor, take an early run near Michigan Stadium in the first-ever Zingerman’s Ann Arbor Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot. The 5k course map takes a loop around Michigan Stadium and two loops around Elbel Field.

More information and sources:

Detroit Free Press, PRIMPING FOR A PARADE: Expect a magic ride, warm temps on route.

Detroit News, “Lidstrom will lead parade”

The Parade Company, “America’s Thanksgiving Parade”

Detroit News has a good parade history, “Detroit’s Thanksgiving Day Parade”

Go City Kids has a Thanksgiving Day event calendar for kids in Detroit.

“Dashing through the streets” – history of the Toronto Thanksgiving Day Parade, from the Toronto Star.

Parade info from

Previous parade coverage:

2004 Thanksgiving Parade a Hit for Detroiters – South End Newspaper

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Thanksgiving vegetarian menu planning

We’re planning a vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner, with some thoughts in mind.

It would be great to have as much of it come from local sources as possible, and so I’ll have my eyes open for things from the Ann Arbor Farmers Market.

We may have a main dish that’s not vegetarian (some kind of fish, perhaps) but there’s no turkey on the table or in the oven. No tofu turkey either – did that one year – no need to repeat. It’s not that I don’t like turkey, and I even have a source for a local organic turkey, but we’ll let someone else cook that and we’ll share leftovers.

The new stove is being delivered this week, and I am trusting that everything will work out with that. It would be really hard to cook on one small burner. First step in that process is done – the old stove is out – there will be a report on the new one!

Partial recipe ideas – I’ll fill these in after some discussions and some more shopping at market.

Baked stuffed squash. We had a nice meal the other day with acorn or delicata squash filled with a mixture of rice, pine nuts, and dried cranberries. Start from this recipe in the Seattle Times and then work backwards to simplify and use the ingredients you have, it’s pretty adaptable.

Brussels sprouts. This might just be for me, if the family doesn’t go along. Epicurious has a very simple buttered brussels sprouts recipe with an amazing collection of variations in the comments.

Sweet potatoes. I like them baked, without much fuss.

Greens. The greens at market this week were turnip greens (delicious in a mustardy sauce) and collards (blanched and then seasoned). We have a good kale recipe with a sesame-soy-vinegar sauce that’s really nice.

More sources:

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