It takes an early riser to march in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.
For Old Mill junior Zenobia Lewis, it meant getting up at 3:30a.m. to walk from her hotel in Times Square to Herald Square. And that was just to practice her cheerleading moves.
Then she had to walk back, eat breakfast and jump in a subway forthe ride to Central Park, where she and 500 other girls lined up to prepare for the parade. They stood in line for 1 1/2 hours before themusic started and the parade began.
None of which bothered Zenobia.
"It was great," the 16-year-old said. "I loved it. I'm telling you, I had the best time in my life."
Lewis slept yesterday afternoon, then had Thanksgiving dinner with the rest of the cheerleaders on board a yacht sailing around Manhattan.
But before eating, she and a group of 20 new friends collected about $30, bought some food ata store and distributed it to homeless people.
Lewis, the varsitycheerleading captain at Old Mill Senior High, wasn't the only Anne Arundel resident participating in the Macy's parade, televised nationwide by NBC. Freddie Sutherland, a 6-year-old from Riviera Beach, won a chance to ride on the Showboat Float by competing in Macy's "Be a Star" contest.
Lewis' road to parade fame came after she acquired All-American status at a National Cheerleading Association camp in July. Only four girls out of 350 were chosen All-American at the four-day competition at Salisbury State.
Lewis said she was near the front of the 500-girl pack, which included representatives from 44 states. "I was waving to all the people," she said. "After, I called home and they said they saw me on NBC."
Other family members, including her mother, were in New York watching the parade in-person. The Old Mill student said her best memory of the morning was meeting new friends from different backgrounds and different states. But Lewis is not unaccustomed to new faces.
The daughter of U.S. Army members, she is accustomed to traveling around the United States. She lived in Massachusetts, Texas and Indiana before moving to Maryland. "It's easy for me," she said. "I'm used to making new friends real quick."
Lewis also is no stranger to New York, having visited relatives there several times.
"There were no unexpected things," she said, apart from being nervous about performing in front of millions.
"I've never seen so many people in my life," she said. "Right before, I thoughtI forgot what to do."
Another thrill for Lewis was spotting stars. In front of the group of cheerleaders were members of the pop groupBoys To Men, and she said she also met "some guy from 'Gimme A Break.' "