Leyland Named Grand Marshal for Thanksgiving Day Parade


DETROIT — Jim Leyland, the third-winningest manager in Detroit Tigers franchise history, has been named as Grand Marshal for the 87th America’s Thanksgiving Parade presented by Art Van Furniture. Recently announcing his retirement after eight seasons as Detroit Tigers manager, Leyland will be honored during this year’s parade as it travels down Woodward Avenue on Thanksgiving morning.

“We are thrilled to welcome Jim Leyland as this year’s parade Grand Marshal,” said Tony Michaels, president & CEO of The Parade Company. “Over the past eight years, Jim has become a Detroit icon, leading the Detroit Tigers to many exciting and memorable times in our city. It is a privilege to celebrate him with hundreds of thousands of Detroiters and families on Thanksgiving morning.”

Leyland was named the Tigers 36th manager on October 4, 2005 and guided Detroit to 700 wins at the helm, third-most in franchise history. The Tigers advanced to the postseason four times during Leyland’s managerial career with the club, including three straight division titles (2011-2013), two American League pennants (2006, 2012) and two World Series appearances. Leyland joined Hughie Jennings as the only two managers in Tigers history to lead the club to the postseason in three-or-more seasons. He was the third manager in franchise history to guide a Tigers club to the World Series multiple times, joining Hughie Jennings and Mickey Cochrane.

“It is an honor to be a part of America’s Thanksgiving Parade, a cherished tradition in this town,” said Leyland. “I look forward to traveling down Woodward Avenue on Thanksgiving morning and experiencing the parade with Detroiters who have shown me incredible support over the years.”

Additionally this year, The Parade Company will honor philanthropist and humanitarian Maggie Allesee and president of the Skillman Foundation Carol Goss, as 2013 Honorary Grand Marshals.

“We are grateful for the commitment Maggie and Carol have invested into our community and The Parade Company over the years,” said Michaels. “These two dedicated leaders are a priceless part of our city. This is our way of thanking them for their continued support.”

Allesee, a longtime Parade Company supporter, board member and 25-year veteran of The Parade Company’s Distinguished Clown Corps, is a well-known philanthropist whose generosity has touched the lives of many individuals in the areas of education, healthcare, and the arts. She has been recognized as Michigan Humanitarian of the Year and received numerous awards for her dedication to supporting organizations and individuals throughout southeast Michigan and beyond. This year, Allesee will also serve as The Parade Company’s DCC Distinguished Grand Jester, leading some of the area’s most influential business and community leaders down the parade route as they trade in their business suits for clown suits on Thanksgiving morning.

Recognized as a leader in the philanthropy industry, Goss has over 20 years of experience in child welfare, family services and youth development in Detroit and Oakland, California. A native Detroiter, Goss currently serves as the president of the Skillman Foundation — a private independent foundation whose mission is to improve the lives of children in metropolitan Detroit by strengthening their schools and neighborhoods — and has announced she will retire from the organization at the end of 2013. She also serves and works with numerous other non-profits in the Detroit area including The Parade Company, where she sponsors and leads the annual Skillman Float Design Contest each year, allowing area students the opportunity to design a float for the parade.

This year’s parade route offers views of some of Detroit’s most notable landmarks on Woodward Avenue including the Detroit Institute of Arts, Orchestra Hall, Comerica Park, the Fox Theatre and Campus Martius Park. The nearly three mile long parade will feature 60 parade units, award-winning marching bands, 500 clowns, specialty acts, celebrities, the Big Head Corps donning Italian-made papier-mâché heads and the Distinguished Clown Corps celebrating its 30th year. This year’s theme is “Downtown Our Town.”

Recognized as one of the best Thanksgiving parades in the country by U.S, News & World Report Travel, America’s Thanksgiving Parade presented by Art Van Furniture will be held on Thursday, Nov.28 with step-off at 8:45 a.m. in midtown Detroit at Woodward Avenue and Kirby. The parade is free to the public with grandstand tickets now available starting at $40. For more information, visit theparade.org.

The parade will be featured on WDIV-TV Local 4, including a one-hour national broadcast reaching more than 140 major cities across the country. News/Talk 760 WJR will also broadcast live from the parade route.