Ruben Studdard headlines Philly’s Thanksgiving Day parade

November 21, 2017 GMT

Grammy-nominated 2003 “American Idol” winner Ruben Studdard will help the Delaware Valley usher in the holiday season when the Dunkin’ Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade, hosted by Action News’ Rick Williams and Cecily Tynan, broadcasts live on 6ABC from 8:30 a.m. to noon on Thursday.

“Good Morning America’s” guest host Lara Spencer makes her first appearance at the event, while Adam Joseph, Karen Rogers and Alicia Vitarelli report from the parade route.

Stepping off from 20th Street and JFK Boulevard, the annual parade, now in its 98th year, is the oldest Thanksgiving Day parade in the country and a true Philadelphia tradition.

Studdard, who won the second season of “American Idol,” was christened “The Velvet Teddy Bear” by Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Gladys Knight, and received a “Best Male R&B Vocal Performance Grammy nomination for “Superstar.” He will be joined by “Idol” alums Melinda Doolittle and Justin Guarini. There will also be appearances by Dove award-winning recording artist, Ty Herndon, as well as hip-hop and R&B star KWAME, who makes his parade debut.

Viewers can also look forward to lively performances from the theatrical productions “The Color Purple,” “Les Miserables,” “Aladdin,” “Annie” and “Waitress.”

In addition to a whimsical and creative display of floats and balloons, including Tweety Bird, Cat in the Hat, a Tyrannosaurus Rex, and Mr. Potato Head, 19 superb marching bands from across the country will strut along the 1.4 mile parade route.

As always, 6abc will celebrate the holiday season with some Disney magic, as Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse spend the day in the City of Brotherly Love, along with Mary Poppins and her companion, Bert. There will also be a dazzling performance by Moana from “Disney on Ice: Dare to Dream,” along with an appearance by Iron Man from “Marvel Universe Live!” and word has it that Spider Man also promises to swing by!

Once again, the annual Thanksgiving party on the Parkway will showcase the charismatic “CAPA Kids” — the supremely talented students of the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts, under the direction of LaDeva Davis — and as always, Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus conclude the festivities by officially opening the holiday season.

“The 6abc Dunkin Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade is 98 years old this year and is the longest running Thanksgiving Day Parade in America. We couldn’t keep it going without the wonderful support of Dunkin Donuts and our major sponsors,” 6abc President and General Manager Bernie Prazenica said in a statement. “This is Philadelphia’s parade and we all take great pride in continuing the tradition.”