Hundreds of spectators lined Pratt Street yesterday morning for Baltimore's Thanksgiving parade, a tradition-rich event that kicks off the holiday season. And no one seemed disappointed.
The parade, which ran from Eutaw to President streets, featured all kinds of participants, including City Council President Sheila Dixon and Miss Carroll County Pre-Teen, Lauren Anderson.
The Oriole Bird, equestrian units, police officers on motorcycles, the Black Rose Twirlers of Hanover, Pa., and a handful of people clad in turkey costumes also took part in the festivities.
But the day seemed to belong to the community marching bands with dance teams, such as the Edmondson Village Steppers, the Edmondson/Westside Marching Band and the Baltimore Go-Getters, who moved in sync to the pounding of drums.
The parade was an eye-opening event for Madison Strother, 2. Her parents, Michele and David Strother, had bundled her up at their Pasadena home for a family outing.
On a brisk but bright morning, Madison regarded each passing unit as a curiosity.
"I'm impressed with all the diversity," said David Strother, 32, an Army reservist who has been on active duty at Fort Meade.
Michele Strother, who grew up in Salisbury, said she, too, was struck with how many people of all ages from the city and throughout the state came to- gether for the event.
Madison was most taken with the grand marshal, Eliza Thornberry, a cartoon character from the new movie The Wild Thornberrys.
Madison saw Eliza wave and pass by, and then seemed to expect to see more of her, only to be let down.
"She's already gone, honey," said Michele Strother.
Mayor Martin O'Malley did not ride in the parade because of an emergency preparedness drill at police headquarters, said his spokesman, Tony White.
But to everyone's delight, the character who traditionally appears at the end of the parade, did show up - elves and all.
Santa Claus waved to the crowd from a passing convertible. David Clements, 11, and his mother, Zaida Clements of Northeast Baltimore, said he is always their favorite part of the parade.