SILVER SPRING, Md. - Montgomery County kicked off the holiday season this weekend with a familiar tradition – the annual Thanksgiving Parade.
Organizers, performers and attendees were in an extra festive and jolly mood Saturday morning at Veterans Plaza in downtown Silver Spring, despite the frigid temperatures.
Saturday’s festive scene was meant to showcase the diverse cultures and performing talents of Montgomery County, while also bringing the community together for a day of thankfulness and celebration.
The free event featured larger than life inflatable turkeys and penguins, glittering floats, marching bands, dancing groups, and Santa, Mrs. Clause and their elves.
Jacob Newman with the Silver Spring Regional Center says this year’s event was even a bit more special given that there COVID restrictions are no longer in place.
"There is just a lot of energy—a whole lot more interest, we received more applications for the parade than in many years past," says Newman.
FOX 5 spoke with one attendee, who was keeping the holiday spirit alive.
Monica Zhao, a Silver Spring resident and mom, showed up bright and early to support her 11-year-old daughter who was dancing in the parade.
"I love seeing those kids being a member of the community. We are immigrants, and we just immigrated to America, and we don’t know what that means for Thanksgiving, but she’s still young and we really appreciate to be a member in America," said Zhao.
FOX 5 also spoke with Jessica Novakovich from Akhmedova Ballet Academy. A group of young ballerinas from the ABA prepared for months to perform in the parade.
"I think the girls are very excited but I think they are very nervous because we have a lot of younger girls this year and they’re new and this is their first time with ABA and also doing the parade, so they really want to show what they work on so much each day, and they want to do it really well," Novakovich told FOX 5.
The Montgomery Blair High School Marching Band also got to showcase their talent.
"I think after coming back from COVID and putting into perspective about their lives, they are really much more dedicated to their craft and have really enjoyed putting forth all the effort and now seeing it come into fruition through performance," said Raife Oldham, the Band Director for Montgomery Blair High School.