Shoebox parade becomes a new holiday tradition for NTPRD

No need to travel to New York City for a float-filled Thanksgiving parade this year.

The National Trail Parks & Recreation District will present its second annual Thanksgiving Shoe Box Parade on its Facebook page at 10 a.m. Thanksgiving Day – Thursday, Nov. 25.

“We started the parade last year because there wasn’t a lot of in-person programming we could do, but we still wanted to do something fun,” NTPRD Recreation Specialist Meghan Goenha says.

Instead of being broadcast in front of Macy’s  in New York, the handmade shoebox floats will cruise past a backdrop of the Bushnell Building in Downtown Springfield.

In 2020, 11 floats were submitted into the parade, including ones made by local families, Wittenberg University, and NTPRD itself.

This year, the parade has grown to about 20 floats and was opened to local organizations and businesses interested in participating also.

“The parade let’s people work together as a family on a project, it can be an opportunity for families to talk together, and it can get business names or group names out there,” Goenha says.

The 2021 theme is “Books Brought to Life.” Floats aren’t required to be designed around the theme, but the best float related to the theme is one of the awards up for grabs.

Other award categories include commercial float, family float, nonprofit organization, education organization (school club or group), and NTPRD employees will serve as judges.

There is also a Trophy Winner category – fan favorite – for which viewers can cast their votes with “likes” on float photos posted on Facebook following the parade.

NTPRD turned the parade into an annual event because of the response following 2020’s production.

“We got a lot of response last year to do it again,” Goenha says. “It was really well received so we thought we’d bring it back.”

She says NTPRD is excited to have seen the growth in the number of floats submitted this year and hopes the shoebox parade will continue to grow as a local tradition in the future. Sign ups annually will start in early September.

“We’re excited there has been so much support from the community,” Goenha says.

Read more articles by Natalie Driscoll.

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