Detroit parade, Lions game will mean traffic, closures Thursday

Kermit the Frog looms over Woodward Avenue during Americas Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit. Photo courtesy The Parade Company/Facebook.

If you’re heading into Michigan Thursday morning, your commute may be slower than usual because it’s American Thanksgiving.

For the first time in three years, American Thanksgiving in Detroit will be supported by a fully-open border. If you have the day off Thursday and were hoping to catch America’s Thanksgiving Parade downtown, be ready to get an early start.

The parade, a Detroit holiday tradition since 1924 that features Santa Claus kicking off the holiday season in the Motor City, is expected to draw up to a million people to Woodward Avenue.

The City of Detroit will be closing some key streets early Thursday morning which will affect downtown traffic through the afternoon. Street closures include Woodward Avenue between West Grand Boulevard and Larned, which will be shut down completely between 5 a.m. and 4 p.m. Thursday. Side streets leading toward the parade route may also be closed.

The parade will step off at 8:45 a.m. at Woodward and West Grand Boulevard. According to Detroit television station WDIV Local 4, which will broadcast the march live, the parade will take about 90 minutes to travel the entire route.

The tradition continues with NFL football at Ford Field. The Detroit Lions will go for their fourth win in a row by taking on the Buffalo Bills. The kickoff is at 12:30 p.m.

For those able to go over for Black Friday shopping, many big-box stores will be closed on Thursday to allow employees to enjoy the holiday with loved ones.  Check with the individual store to avoid disappointment. Most major stores are expected to be open extra early on Friday, which has in the past been called the busiest shopping day of the year.

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) reminds drivers to allow for extra time to reach their destination throughout the American Thanksgiving weekend. Complete information on what you need to know before you cross the border can be found here.