News From TI: District 30 Hosts Thanksgiving Parade

News From TI: District 30 Hosts Thanksgiving Parade

Chicago Toastmasters inform and entertain
while serving as official parade announcers.

By Kim Taylor, CC

The annual Thanksgiving Day parade along State Street in Chicago consists of a wide variety of marching bands that perform with amazing synchronicity. In keeping with a 74-year tradition, there are extravagantly decorated moving floats, bigger-than-life character balloons, and numerous groups and organizations that come together to celebrate the season and entertain spectators. The 2006 parade was no different in the variety of performers and participants entertaining the crowds. What was different however, was the addition of on-site parade announcers.

Historically, only those watching the parade on television learned details about the various parade participants. Last November, for the first time, organizers decided on having onsite announcers informing spectators about entertainers they were seeing. Who better to fit the need for energetic, entertaining and articulate speakers than District 30 Toastmasters? Public Relations Officer Allen Green networked with parade officials, sponsors, contractors and volunteers through months of planning and coordination. This effort resulted in Toastmasters being official parade announcers – and Green earned his Advanced Leader certification!

Early on November 23, District 30 volunteers proudly donned their custom-made Toastmasters sashes and headed for duty. Speaking to crowds from elevated platforms along the parade route, Toastmasters informed and entertained the crowds during the three-hour holiday event. In addition to providing the onlookers with fun facts and entertaining statistics about the parade participants, they sang, danced and encouraged everyone – from the very young to the most senior – to join in the fun and embrace the moment! They were well received by the crowds and approached afterward by spectators wishing to learn more about Toastmasters membership.

The members and officers of District 30 were pleased to represent Toastmasters International with pride and polish. In the months preceding the parade, they prepared, practiced and performed to ensure this pilot program would represent Toastmasters International in the best possible light. By all accounts, it was a success. 

Kim Taylor, CC is an area governor in District 30 and member of Toastmasters Plus Club in Schaumburg, Illinois.