October 19, 2023 -- The City of Houston led by Mayor Sylvester Turner will jumpstart the holiday season with Houstonians’ favorite tradition, the annual H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade. In its 74th year, the 2023 parade will feature new balloons and floats to celebrate Houston on Parade as it travels through downtown Houston on Thursday, November 23rd starting at 9 a.m.
For the final parade of his administration, Mayor Turner was selected to serve as the grand marshal for this year’s Thanksgiving Day tradition along with co-grand marshals, Rockets legends, former Championship coach, Rudy Tomjanovich and Hall of Fame player, Calvin Murphy.
“For the past eight years I have enjoyed the H-E-B Thanksgiving Day parade as mayor of this extraordinary, vibrant, city. The parade is symbolic of our resilience as a city, and we have highlighted the most incredible talent, floats, and marching bands in the history of the parade and have taken it to a new level of excellence,” said Mayor Turner. "I am thrilled to host this treasured holiday tradition and am thankful for the progress this city has made over the years. I am especially thankful for the private-sector support from our wonderful sponsors who ensure we kick-off the holiday season in proper fashion year after year."
Calvin Murphy is a former NBA Houston Rocket and member of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. He was the first Hall of Famer to play his entire career with the Rockets, as he averaged 17.9 points and 4.4 assists in 1,002 career games. Murphy averaged double figures in points during every season he played organized basketball, spanning from high school to the NBA. Following his retirement as a player, he continues to work with the Rockets organization as an assistant coach, broadcaster and community services advisor.
Rudy Tomjanovich, known as Rudy T, also spent his entire playing career with the Rockets and was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame in 2021. Tomjanovich was a 5-time NBA All-Star forward four consecutive times between 1974 and 1977, and again in 1979. Since retiring from playing, he spent eight years as an assistant coach and as head coach of the Rockets from 1992 to 2003, leading them to two consecutive NBA championships in 1994 and 1995. Tomjanovich is now a player personnel consultant for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
“The annual H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade has a long history as a Houston tradition, and each year, we are incredibly thankful we can celebrate this cherished holiday event with our fellow Houstonians,” said H-E-B Group Vice President of Public Affairs, Diversity, and Environmental Affairs. “We look forward to joining Mayor Turner once again in this beloved parade and thanking him for his leadership, commitment and service to our great city.”
The Texas Southern University marching band, “Ocean of Soul” will start the parade after a special performance from Roger & Hammerstein’s Cinderella from Theatre Under the Stars (TUTS). The parade will feature additional performances, HIGH-FLYING BALLOONS and COLORFUL AND UNIQUE FLOATS including the famous Tom Turkey and Santa Claus. New floats include the Recycle float sponsored by the City of Houston Solid Waste Department, made from all recycled materials. Furthermore, the parade will feature a number of local and regional high stepping marching bands, drill teams, dance companies, and more!
Houston’s inaugural Thanksgiving Day Parade began in 1949 when Santa arrived at Union Station and rode his sleigh to the downtown Foley’s department store. Today, the annual parade is produced by the Mayor’s Office of Special Events. It will begin on Smith at Lamar, head north to Walker, east to Milam, south to Pease, west to Louisiana, north to Clay, west to Smith, and north ending at Smith and Dallas.
The H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade is made possible by H-E-B and the following segment sponsors: Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Highland Village Shopping Center and NEW sponsor, CITGO. Additional sponsors include: Airgas, an Air Liquide company, Hyatt Regency Downtown, Houston ConnectSmart, KSBJ 89.3, GOYA Foods, Sikh National Center, Houston Chronicle, Radio One, Audacy Radio, KTSU and Vida Unida. The parade television broadcast and streaming partner is KHOU 11.
The Annual H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade is free and open to the public. A limited number of premium seats are available and can be purchased at houstonthanksgivingparade.org for $28.25 each, including service fee. Curbside space along the route for lawn chairs and blankets will be plentiful. Easy access parking is available along the route, and Metro buses will be running on a holiday schedule. For route and schedule information, please visit www.ridemetro.org.