Insert Clever Parade Pun Here

Does the word "feastivities" make you cringe? Do you think the most famous Thanksgiving parade, aka Macy's, gets far too much attention? Do you worry about what will happen if those giant balloon characters start sporting equally large egos, pumped up from all the media attention? Do you think it's weird and creepy that floats that stay on the ground and floating balloon floats have the same name? I certainly do so I've compiled a list of less hyped and more interesting parades taking place in the next couple of weeks.

The 54th Baltimore Thanksgiving parade takes place on the 19th, starting at 11 am. It seems to me that just this one description should be enough to lure you out into the chilly air: "Equestrian units include the Zydeco Cowboyz with 20 horseback riders galloping to zydeco and Creole music," but if you need more there is lots more. The Night of 100 Elvises will be there, Santa will be in a Corvette escorted by the Geek Squad, there will be traditional Mexican dancing and the Salvation Army's Emergency Disaster Canteen Float will be there. Of course there will also be clowns, marching bands, jugglers and all the usual stuff that makes up a terrific parade.

Not all parades this time of year have to fit the holiday theme. The 29th Occasional Doo Dah Parade in Pasadena, CA, is a big, outrageous, campy spoof of the Rose Bowl Parade. You can see just about anyone or anything marching in this parade, with performers like the Synchronized Briefcase Drill Team and the Highland Park Thursday Evening Gentlemen's Society Circuit Bending Marching Band And Ladies Auxiliary. The BBQ & Hibachi Marching Grill Team makes up this year's Grand Marshals. These industrious fellows really do grill and serve while they march in the parade. But they don't just hand them out, they launch them from something called a Brautzooka, an invention that is tremendously fun and exciting.

The oldest Thanksgiving parade in the US takes place in Philadelphia, on the 24th. Now in its 86th year, the 6ABC/Boscov's Thanksgiving Day Parade lasts for about three hours and kicks off the city's annual month long holiday festival. Special guests this year include Tony Danza, Kelly Ripa and Ruben Studdard. There will be fourteen marching bands representing several states. There will be a float called Candyland that carries Miss America. What do you think the odds are of the pirate ship float boarding the Candyland float and carrying off Miss America? Wouldn't that be the best parade ever? It would be even better if the dinosaurs on the dinosaur float came to life and got into the act but alas, you'll probably have to settle for watching all the dancing girls and the Shriners in the mini cars instead. Oh well, maybe next year.

Albany, Oregon begins the season of joy and pretty lights with the Downtown Twice Around Holiday Parade, followed by a tree lighting. Self styled as the silliest parade around, this event takes place on the 26th at 3:00 PM. They invite everyone to join in and ask that you be "decorated for the holidays." It looks like you can even bring your doggie so slap a bow on his ears and hit the streets.

If you absolutely don't want to go to a parade then you should consider heading off to the theaters to see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Darker than the previous films, this episode is also more romantic. Directed by Mike Newell (Four Weddings and a Funeral), with a script by Steve Kloves, the consensus so far is this is the best Potter film yet. The focus is more on good story and quality acting instead of special effects. It's very much a change from previous films but then Harry himself has changed quite a bit since we first met him so it's quite pleasant to see the series mature as he does. It debuted Thursday at midnight, a particularly appropriate time, and I expect it will be number one at the box office this weekend and possibly for the next few weekends.