November 2, 2018

'Warrior Strong' float unveiled; debuts at America’s Thanksgiving Parade

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The new float, “Warrior Strong,” is 102 feet long and two stories high (22 feet) — the tallest the Parade Company has ever built — and features a gigantic three-tier cake large enough to feed 150,000 people.

Wayne State University unveiled its new float, “Warrior Strong,” this morning during the 19th Annual Parade Pancake Breakfast presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM). In celebration of the university’s 150th anniversary, the “Warrior Strong” float will make its debut at the 92nd America’s Thanksgiving Parade presented by Art Van with a national broadcast reaching 185 major cities across the country.

Dan Loepp, chairman of the Michigan Thanksgiving Parade Foundation and president and CEO of BCBSM, and Tony Michaels, president and CEO of The Parade Company, were joined by celebrity pancake flippers and hundreds of business and community leaders to serve up flapjacks to more than 1,000 guests.

“For 150 years, Wayne State University has been committed to the city of Detroit and we are proud to celebrate our anniversary with our students, supporters and community with a new float on Thanksgiving morning,” said Wayne State President M. Roy Wilson. “Our float, ‘Warrior Strong,' embodies a motto that Wayne State students and alumni live out each day in classrooms, boardrooms, labs, medical centers and on stage.”

“Wayne State University is an incredible partner of The Parade Company and their new float is a stunning addition to this year’s parade,” said Michaels. “We are so appreciative of Wayne State’s support throughout the years and honored to have had our Parade Company artists design and build this truly remarkable float.”

The new float, “Warrior Strong,” is 102 feet long and two stories high (22 feet)  — the tallest the Parade Company has ever built — and features a gigantic three-tier cake large enough to feed 150,000 people. The vibrant float also features larger-than-life superheroes carrying giant Warrior shields.

Helping Wayne State University celebrate 150 years on Thanksgiving morning are Cedric Mutebi, representing the Wayne Med-Direct program; Honors College student Kavya Davuluri; Dazmonique Carr from the College of Education; and Michael Rachwal from the Mike Ilitch School of Business. They represent the more than 27,000 students from around the world who attend Wayne State University, which just welcomed the largest freshman class in its history.

man being interviewed on camera
Michael Wright, vice president for marketing and communications and chief of staff for WSU, discusses the float with reporter Kim Degiulio at the unveiling during the 19th Annual Parade Pancake Breakfast.

In addition to the “Warrior Strong” float, Wayne State also sponsors the Kermit the Frog balloon and its Midtown Campus is the hub for all costuming for the parade.

Celebrating its 92nd year, America’s Thanksgiving Parade presented by Art Van takes place on Thursday, Nov. 22. To commemorate the life and legacy of longtime parade supporter Art Van Elslander, “Art!! Heart & Soul!” has been announced as this year’s theme. America’s Thanksgiving Parade presented by Art Van will step off at 8:45 a.m. at the corner of Woodward Avenue and Kirby, adjacent to the Detroit Institute of Arts in Midtown, and end at Woodward Avenue and Congress. Three-time Emmy Award winner and five-time National Sportscaster of the Year recipient Jim Nantz will serve as Grand Marshal.

Recognized as one of the Best Holiday Parades in the USA Today 10Best Reader’s Choice travel award contest and one of the best Thanksgiving parades in the country by U.S. News & World Report Travel, America’s Thanksgiving Parade® presented by Art Van will be featured on WDIV-Local 4, including a one-hour national broadcast reaching 185 major cities across the country. News/Talk 760 WJR’s Paul W. Smith and Entercom will also broadcast live from the parade route. 104.3 WOMC’s Stephen Clark and JoAnne Purtan (Mornings WOMC) will host the live broadcast. For more information, visit theparade.org.

About Wayne State University
Wayne State University opened its doors in Detroit in 1868, and is home to 13 schools and colleges, with top-ranked programs in medicine, business, nursing, law, the arts and more. One of the nation’s 50 largest public universities, Wayne State University is known for its groundbreaking research and commitment to community service.

About The Parade Company
Founded in 1984, The Parade Company is a not-for-profit organization governed by the Michigan Thanksgiving Parade Foundation whose board of directors is comprised of key civic and corporate leaders in the greater Detroit region. The Parade Company is celebrating more than 90 years of Parade tradition in Detroit and is committed to funding, creating and executing the best family events in Michigan. The Parade Company staff, board of directors and thousands of parade volunteers work year-round to bring a wide variety of magnificent events to the City of Detroit and the region including the Ford Fireworks, Strategic Staffing Solutions Turkey Trot, and America's Thanksgiving Parade® presented by Art Van. Follow The Parade Company on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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