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Just Plain Fun

Egg Bowl, Gulfport Harbor Lights Recognized As Top Thanksgiving Destinations



Egg Bowl helmets

Okay, so we’re not sure exactly where these folks that were polled were, or EXACTLY how we beat the Macy’s parade. Might be a little iffy, but we’ll take it.

If you’ve never been to the Egg Bowl on a Thanksgiving, boy have you missed it. And Gulfport’s Harbor Lights are a wonderland all their own, so honestly, maybe people are smarter than we give them credit for.

According to a poll from the website Mixbook, Thanksgiving in the U.S. is a holiday rich with events, with each region bringing its own flavor to the festivities, creating a patchwork of traditions that are as diverse as the nation itself. In New York City, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade dazzles spectators with its colossal balloons and extravagant floats, capturing the hearts of both the young and old. In Rhode Island, the Newport Harbor Illuminated Boat Parade shines as a gleaming spectacle on water, where boats adorned with twinkling lights and decorations reflect the festive spirit. And down in Birmingham (AL), they celebrate by attending the Thanksgiving Day Classic football game, where families and friends gather for a rousing display of sportsmanship and community pride under the bright stadium lights.

But which are the most popular? Mixbook ran a survey of 3,000 Americans to establish which iconic Thanksgiving celebration they would most like to experience in 2023. Whether it’s the charm of a hometown parade, the adrenaline rush of a friendly race, or the thrill of a fiercely contested football match, these Thanksgiving events were ranked from 1-80.

Mississippi had two Thanksgiving traditions among the most popular in the country:

10. Thanksgiving Egg Bowl Football Game.

The Thanksgiving Egg Bowl Football Game is a storied tradition that encapsulates the spirit of both sportsmanship and camaraderie emblematic of the holiday season. The “Egg Bowl” title originates from the Golden Egg trophy that the victors receive, symbolizing both pride and bragging rights for the following year. Families throughout the state, and many from outside its borders, will convene to witness this gridiron showdown, blending the festivity of Thanksgiving with the thrill of college football.

16. Gulfport Harbor Lights Winter Festival.

The Gulfport Harbor Lights Winter Festival is a luminous testament to the holiday spirit, enchanting visitors with its radiant display set against the serene backdrop of the Gulf Coast. As winter descends upon Mississippi, the Gulfport Harbor transforms into a glittering wonderland, where thousands of twinkling lights create whimsical scenes that capture the magic of the season. Families can stroll through the lighted displays, feeling the gentle sea breeze, while the reflections of the lights dance upon the water’s surface. Beyond the visual spectacle, the festival also offers a slew of activities, from rides and games to live performances, ensuring that there’s something for everyone.

Gulfport Harbor Lights

The top 5 were as follows:

1. 6abc Dunkin’ Parade, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The 6abc Dunkin’ Parade in Philadelphia was voted as the Thanksgiving event people would most like to experience in 2023. It is one of the nation’s oldest parades, and has been an integral part of Philadelphia’s Thanksgiving celebrations since 1920. Every year, spectators line the streets of Philadelphia to witness a spectacular display of vibrant floats, giant balloons, talented marching bands, and dynamic performance groups. What makes it particularly special is its unique blend of local Philadelphian culture with broader American traditions. The parade culminates with the much-anticipated appearance of Santa Claus, heralding the start of the festive season. Experiencing the 6abc Dunkin’ Parade allows families to be part of a longstanding tradition, feel the camaraderie of the community, and immerse themselves in the joyous spirit of Thanksgiving in the City of Brotherly Love.

2. Detroit’s America’s Thanksgiving Parade, Michigan.

In second place came Detroit’s America’s Thanksgiving Parade. Originating in 1924, it is one of the country’s longest-running and most celebrated parades. What makes this Detroit tradition truly unique is its rich variation of vibrant floats, larger-than-life balloons, and sensational marching bands, all showcasing the distinct culture and spirit of the Motor City. Visitors are particularly drawn to the parade’s signature papier-mâché heads, known as the Big Heads, which have become emblematic of the event. Furthermore, the parade fosters a sense of community, drawing families from all over Michigan to line up along Woodward Avenue, celebrating gratitude and togetherness amidst the backdrop of Detroit’s historic architecture.

3. Ameren’s Thanks-for-Giving Parade, Missouri.

The Ameren’s Thanks-for-Giving Parade in Missouri emerged as the 3rd most sought after Thanksgiving tradition to experience. Held in St. Louis, this spectacular event showcases a stunning array of vibrant floats, talented marching bands, and larger-than-life balloons that traverse the heart of the city. But what truly sets it apart is its heartwarming community spirit. The parade not only serves as a visual treat but also acts as a platform for local charities and organizations to gain visibility. It intertwines entertainment with social responsibility, making it a meaningful celebration.

4. Montgomery County Thanksgiving Parade, Maryland.

In fourth place, came the Montgomery County Thanksgiving Parade, held in Silver Spring. It offers a distinctive blend of both large-scale attractions and local charm. Unique features like the larger than life inflatable turkeys and penguins, glittering floats, marching bands, dancing groups, and Santa and his elves, making it a highlight for families. The inclusion of local schools, organizations, and community groups in the parade ensures that it truly reflects the heart and soul of Montgomery County. The event culminates in the eagerly anticipated arrival of Santa Claus, heralding the beginning of the festive season.

5. Black Friday shopping at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota.

And perhaps surprisingly, rounding up the top five, came the Black Friday shopping at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. It is a quintessential American Thanksgiving experience that, according to the survey, many Americans aspire to partake in. Not only is the Mall of America the largest shopping center in the U.S., but it also encapsulates an experience that goes beyond mere shopping. It’s a spectacle of grandeur and festive ambiance, with extravagant decorations and special holiday-themed events. On Black Friday, they hand out Mystery Scratch-Off Cards to win prizes such as gift cards and ride passes. The immense crowds, dazzling sales, and the electric energy of anticipation for the holiday season make Black Friday at this iconic mall a memory that many wish to create.

Click here for a full infographic on the top Thanksgiving events in the country.

“As we embrace these cherished Thanksgiving events, we’re not just celebrating traditions, but also enjoying what makes each community across America so special,” said Leslie Albertson, Director of Brand at Mixbook. “From the historical charm of Philadelphia to the vibrant energy of Bloomington’s grand Mall of America, these festivities bring people together, fostering connection and encouraging shared experiences, which is especially meaningful during the holiday season.”

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