Chicago parade's inflatable turkey to have wingmen from C-U

Chicago parade's inflatable turkey to have wingmen from C-U

CHAMPAIGN — For the second year in a row, a local company will be guiding Teddy Turkey down State Street in Chicago for today's McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade.

At least 10 employees from Champaign-based College Chefs and sister company Chef Placement Services will be walking alongside the parade's inflatable mascot, which sits on a float in the second half of the parade.

"It's freaking big," Chef Placement Services Director Josh May said. "It takes like 15 people to pull it."

Good thing his employees don't have to pull it.

"They have volunteers that are really professional rope-wranglers" handling the actual float, May said. "We'll hold some banners out in front. ... We're just going to be pretty faces."

While Teddy Turkey might not be as well-known as Ronald McDonald, May said it's a big deal.

"Teddy Turkey is like the main attraction," he said. "Anyone who watches the parade, they'll remember that."

College Chefs is one of the parade's sponsors, and May hopes the parade gives College Chefs and Chef Placement Services some nice publicity.

"It's really a coming-out party for Chef Placement Services," said May, who is booked for a 7 a.m. teleision interview today with WGN, which will show the parade from 8 to 11 a.m.

College Chefs provides professional chefs to more than 200 fraternities and sororities around the country, and in 2014, it launched Chef Placement Services, a sister company that makes chefs available to a variety of companies, including country clubs, lodges and hotels.

If the parade goes well, May joked, New York could be next.

"If I perform well, what I could see happening is, I'll be recruited for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade," he said. "We're going to be sought after."

Tune in

Three of today's highest-viewed telecasts will have a local connection:

8-11 a.m. It's the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, co-starring Rantoul High euphonium player Vincent Beard. WAND.

8-11 a.m. Employees from two Champaign businesses will be front and center at the McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade. WGN.

Noon-2 p.m. Watch Chuck, Champaign's 18-month-old Pekingese, be crowned king of the toy group at the National Dog Show. WAND.

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