For Houstonians that have been wondering what will become of the city's annual Thanksgiving Parade, we got our answer today.
"More than 400,000 dollars has been pledged from the private sector to cover the costs for the parade."- Mayor Parker said. HEB, who has always been an important co-sponsor of the event, is now stepping into a larger sponsorship role, along with many others. Long-time special events company Ward and Ames will plan and produce the parade. They have worked with the City of Houston on a wide-range of events from the annual Freedom Over Texas celebration to the 2004 Super Bowl.
The private company that used to run the parade is the Houston Festival Foundation. HFF announced last week that they would no longer produce the city's parade, and that they even sold off the city's collection of parade floats. At the Press Conference, they Mayor was asked how the city plans to cope with this situation...
"I've been approached by the Art Car Parade here in Houston. Those folks always want to show off their vehicles."- Mayor Parker said.
Art Cars at the Thanksgiving parade? An interesting concept.
This is a change, no doubt. But the Thanksgiving Parade is an annual tradition not just for Houston, but for the whole South Central region of the United States. Over the past few years it has grown into one of the nation's largest and best received parades, and is broadcast all over the state of Texas, as well as other cities like Little Rock, Arkansas. It would be a real shame to let it go just because of financial troubles by one corporate entity. Thankfully, the city of Houston recognizes that being in a metro area with an economy as strong as ours, they can pick up the phone and allow this tradition to continue.
On a personal note, having worked with Ward and Ames Special Events before, I highly doubt Houstonians will be disappointed.
In every adversity, there also lies an opportunity. Let's see what comes of this one for Houston.