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Detroiters getting a dose of Motown, medalists during 88th annual Thanksgiving Day parade

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DETROIT — The event known as "America's Thanksgiving Parade" honored Thursday what once was called the "Sound of Young America."

A Motown Museum float was one of four new floats at the Thanksgiving Day parade in Detroit. Twenty-one floats, about a dozen bands and roughly 100 clowns made their way down Woodward Avenue.

Mayor Mike Duggan joined other dignitaries to officially "ring in" the parade. He said attendees and those watching on television were seeing "buildings that weren't occupied before" and other encouraging signs in the downtown of a city that's emerging from bankruptcy.

Another welcome development for organizers the completion of the first phase of the M-1 Rail streetcar project on the city's historic thoroughfare in time for the parade. M-1 Rail Chief Operating Officer Paul Childs told The Detroit News that the project met its goal of installing a quarter-mile of new track in four months.

PHOTO: Members of the Deborah's Stage Door Center for the Performing Arts of Rochester Hills dance while waiting for the parade to continue during the Thanksgiving Parade, Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Detroit Free Press, Ryan Garza)  DETROIT NEWS OUT;  NO SALES
Members of the Deborah's Stage Door Center for the Performing Arts of Rochester Hills dance while waiting for the parade to continue during the Thanksgiving Parade, Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Detroit Free Press, Ryan Garza) DETROIT NEWS OUT; NO SALES

The 60-foot-long Motown float, which features a replica of the studio-turned-museum's facade and a piano that could fit 15 baby grands inside of it, is among four new floats.

But along with beginnings come some endings: Fred Hill of the crowd-pleasing Fred Hill Briefcase Drill Team said this year's parade will be his 16-man squad's last.

Briefcases, Hill says, have gone out of style and he has too many members on "injured reserve." In a flourish, the veteran team "retired" their cases by leaving them on the ground.

Olympic ice dancing gold medalists and Detroit-area natives Meryl Davis and Charlie White were serving as grand marshals.

"We're hometown kids — we love being in Detroit," Davis told WDIV-TV. "It's really exciting."

Detroit's 88th parade boasts of being among the nation's oldest and largest. The biggest is Macy's Thanksgiving Parade in New York City.

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