Turkey Trot, parade garnish holiday weekend in Pittsburgh

Downtown, North Side events attract thousands

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There's more to do than sit around getting stuffed with turkey this long Thanksgiving weekend. There's also turkey trotting and parade-watching.

On Thursday morning, a record-breaking 7,000 people, some wearing turkey-related costumes, are expected to participate in the 23rd annual PNC YMCA Turkey Trot, said Paul McComb, the Downtown PNC YMCA's executive director.

The event, which features a 1-mile fun run, a 5K and a 5-mile course through the North Side and Downtown, has become a pre-Thanksgiving meal tradition for many families, a way to work up an appetite and support the YMCA's programs, Mr. McComb said.

"There's not a better way to start the day and, quite frankly, for a great cause," he said.

People can still sign up, either at the PNC YMCA at 236 Fifth Ave., Downtown, or before the race Thursday morning. Cost is $15 for the 1-mile fun run, $35 for the 5K, and $40 for the 5-mile. The races start and finish near PNC Park on the North Side.

Come Saturday, there should be even more people in the streets.

That's when WPXI-TV will present the 33rd annual My Macy's Holiday Parade. This year's parade will feature Eric Martsolf, star of the NBC soap opera "Days of Our Lives" as the grand marshal and a performance from 1970s recording artist Peter Rivera of Rare Earth, known for the song "I Just Want to Celebrate."

Other celebrity appearances will include Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders; Carly Patterson, the gold medal-winning Olympic gymnast; and the King family of Freedom Farms in Butler, stars of the television show "Farm Kings."

The parade, which has many of the same elements as the larger Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, will include decorated floats, local high school marching bands and, of course, Santa Claus, said Mark Barash, program director for WPXI. It typically draws about 100,000 people to Downtown, he said.

The parade route will go from Liberty Avenue to Grant Street, right onto Fifth Avenue, left onto Liberty Avenue and then left onto Stanwix Street. It will be shown live on WPXI from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday.

Kaitlynn Riely: kriely@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1707. First Published November 26, 2013 4:06 PM

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