From the Vault: Cincinnati's Thanksgiving Day Parade, 1975

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CINCINNATI -- Today, many Tri-State families will only watch a Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV.

But decades ago, Cincinnati had a huge Thanksgiving Day Parade. It featured stars like Snow White, Captain Kangaroo and the big man himself -- Santa Claus.

In 1975, WCPO hosted Cincinnati's "first 'pro' Thanksgiving Day parade," as Cincinnati Magazine called it at the time.

"The first annual Channel 9 Holiday Parade is billed as a seasonal welcome as big as the Big Apple's own, with an 'American Christmas' bicentennial theme to boot," wrote "BKD" in the 1975 Cincinnati Magazine article.

"WCPO wanted to present a broadcast that combined elements such as community needs, downtown pride and vitality, family recreation and a healthy, unadulterated flair for showbiz," the article continued. "The answer came in the form of a first-class parade."

The parade started at Riverfront Stadium -- only five years old at the time -- then continued to Second Street, turned onto Plum, then took Fifth Street to Broadway.

The Grand Marshal of the parade was Captain Kangaroo, whose show broadcast on Channel 9 in the '70s. Uncle Al (of course) had a float in the parade, as did Mr. Patches and Lucky the Clown.

The downtown parade didn't catch on to rival Macy's Parade in New York, but the Thanksgiving Day Parade is still a cherished tradition in Price Hill.

The Thanksgiving Day Race, too, is a turkey day tradition that's alive and well. This year will be the 107th annual Thanksgiving Day Race. It's the sixth oldest Thanksgiving Day race in the country, Runner's Magazine reported.

SEE more video and stories about Tri-State history in our "From The Vault" series.

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