5 Things to Expect at the Montgomery County Thanksgiving Parade

Photo courtesy of the Silver Spring Arts & Entertainment District

5 Things to Expect at the Montgomery County Thanksgiving Parade

The annual Montgomery County Thanksgiving Parade returns to Downtown Silver Spring on Saturday, November 18, 2023, with even more floats, marchers, mascots, and special guests than ever before. The event traditionally marks the start of the holiday season in Montgomery County, Maryland.

The procession will take off at 10 a.m. from Ellsworth Drive and Fenton Street in Silver Spring’s Arts & Entertainment District and will conclude at around 1 p.m., leaving plenty of time to make a day of visiting the city. Here are five things to expect before you go:

1. The only Thanksgiving parade in the Washington, DC metro area

The Montgomery County Thanksgiving Parade is the only Thanksgiving parade in the DC area. It has been known to attract up to 10,000 spectators who come out to Silver Spring to watch more than 100 participating units.

2. Fun for the whole family

The family-friendly parade will begin with a Thanksgiving and harvest theme and end with festive holiday music. Kids and kids at heart can enjoy turkey races, Rudolph and Hanukkah bear mascots, a Polar Express train, and much more.

After the parade concludes, stick around bustling Downtown Silver Spring to pick up holiday gifts for your loved ones, grab a bite to eat at Copper Canyon or one of the many other restaurants, and have a drink at Silver Branch Brewing Co. From a neighborhood bookstore to an outdoor ice skating rink, explore five places to visit within a five-minute walk of the parade route.

3. Floats, performances, and special appearances

This year are floats of toy soldiers and candy canes, gingerbread costumes, more college and high school marching bands, and live performances by cultural dancing groups, Akhmedova Ballet, and the Maryland Youth Ballet. Mrs. Claus will also join her jolly husband, Santa, and the elves for the first time in the parade’s history.

Photo courtesy of the Silver Spring Arts & Entertainment District

4. The show must go on, regardless of the weather

The parade will take place rain or shine, and temperatures may be in the low- to mid-40s. Be sure to dress accordingly for a comfortable experience.

5. Free parking and road closures 

Though the best way to get to the parade is via the Metro Red Line to Silver Spring Station, there will be free parking in public garages along the parade route, including Sligo Avenue Garage, Cameron Street Garage, and Bonifant Street Garage. The Ellsworth Town Center Garage and Wayne Avenue Garage will be closed to accommodate the parade.

The following roads will be closed from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the day of the parade, with parking restrictions beginning at 2 a.m.:

  • North and Southbound Georgia Avenue between East-West Highway and Colesville Road
  • Cedar Avenue between Colesville Road and Wayne Avenue
  • Pershing Drive from Cedar Avenue to Veterans Place
  • Veterans Place from Pershing to Ellsworth Drive
  • Ellsworth Drive from Georgia Avenue to Cedar Avenues
  • Roeder Road from Fenton Street to Cedar Avenue
  • Fenton Street from Cameron Street to Wayne Avenue
  • Wayne Avenue from Georgia Avenue to Fenton Street
  • Bonifant Street from Georgia Avenue to Fenton Street
  • Thayer Avenue from Georgia Avenue to Fenton Street
  • Silver Spring Avenue from Georgia Avenue to Fenton Street

Looking for more to do this holiday season? Fall for Fall Inspired Flavors that will warm you up during cozy food season and check out Performances You Can’t Miss this Winter in Montgomery County.