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Big Head Corps to Recruit Participants for 2 Parades

The organization is looking for recruits to walk in America's Thanksgiving Day Parade and the following day in the Grosse Pointe Santa Claus Parade.

The Parade Company's Big Head Corps is having an informational party tonight at the to recruit walkers for America's Thanksgiving Day Parade. They are also looking for walkers to participate in the Grosse Pointe Santa Claus Parade

A small group of Grosse Pointers re-ignited the use of the Big Head Corps five years ago upon discovering more than 200 of the papermache oversized heads inside the Parade Company Warehouse, Scott Adlhoch, a Grosse Pointe realtor, supporter and participant in the parades. 

The heads had been part of the traditional parade in downtown Detroit years ago but were no longer used at some point, Adlhoch said. The group also lobbied to use the heads in the Grosse Pointe Santa Claus Parade the day after Thanksgiving that travels through the Village, he said, noting they first made an appearance in the Pointes in 2009. 

The group is hosting a recruiting event at Village Grille from 6 to 9 p.m. where regular participants, Parade Company employees and other supporters will provide information. 

To particpate, walkers are required to march in the downtown Detroit parade on Thanksgiving morning, Adlhoch said. Participation in the Grosse Pointe parade is optional but the group is hopeful to increase its presence locally, he said. 

Big Heads began in the Grosse Pointe parade with eight walkers, Adlhoch said. Last year, there were 35 walkers and organizers are hopeful to have even more this year, he said. 

There will easily be hundreds in the downtown Detroit parade, he said, describing it as one of the best ways to be in a parade.

Walking down Woodward, he said, he often interacts with the crowd by shaking hands, stopping to take pictures or have other interaction. Adlhoch dresses in the Scooby Doo Big Head outfit--a character he chose and loves, he said. 

Since re-igniting their use, the organization has begun trying to add a new head to the collection every year, Adlhoch said. Last year the new head was Bo Schembeckler--the well known late University of Michigan football coach. 

The idea behind particpating is more about having fun. There is a cost, which is a few hundred dollars that supports the Parade Company, but this allows walkers to participate in several other events of a celebratory nature. 

Adlhoch said he knows many people who have gotten involved in the beginning did so to be supportive but now are doing it because they love it and its a part of their Thanksgiving Day traditions. They would not consider not participating, he said. There is a great deal of fun had behind the scenes as well, such as parties and gatherings with networking and socializing.

According to a recruiting brochure, participants also receive: 

  • 1 individual photo of you in costume taken on Parade Day
  • 1 Big Head Corps t-shirt
  • 1 Ticket for the Big Head Corps Breakfast on Parade morning – 11/24/11
  • 2 VIP Grandstand tickets in a designated Big Head Corps section – 11/24/11
  • 2 VIP Pancake Breakfast tickets at The Parade Company – 11/4/11 
  • 4 Parade Preview Party tickets – 10/19/11 
  • 4 A Day in Paradeland tickets – 11/26/11 
  • Admission to Parade Company networking events

The informational party at Village Grill will also offer free appetizers and drinks. For more information, contact Valerie Richards from the Parade Company at 313-923-7403 or by email

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