CHAMPAIGN — The Champaign Central High School Marching Maroons are among 16 marching bands from around the country to perform in Philadelphia's Thanksgiving Day parade Thursday morning.
Champaign Central High School band director John Currey said he and his co-director and wife, Jennifer Currey, have been preparing the students for this event more than a year. It was in the late spring that students learned Philadelphia would be the destination.
On Tuesday night, students checked in their bags, uniforms and instruments at the high school in anticipation of a 5:30 a.m. bus departure today for what's believed to be the oldest Thanksgiving Day parade in the country, older even than the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade in New York.
Central, dressed in maroon uniforms and Santa hats and scheduled to play hyped-up holiday tunes, is scheduled to step off near the beginning of the parade, within the first 10 entries.
Of the band's 170 members, 118 students were to make the trip accompanied by 10 chaperones and the Curreys.
After their performance Thursday, they will see the Liberty Bell and the Liberty Bell Center before leaving the city for New York.
There, they will be treated to two days of tourist attractions, including seeing a Broadway play, the Empire State Building, ground zero and Rockefeller Center. The group is expected back at the high school early Sunday morning.
If you watch
-- Who: Champaign Central High School Marching Maroons.
-- What: Marching in Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day parade.
-- When: Parade starts 7:30 a.m. Thursday, Central time.
-- Watch: Live stream on 6ABC.com.