HOUSTON — The sounds and sights of Cirque du Soleil’s Alegria filled downtown Houston’s streets Wednesday afternoon in the first rehearsal of the first performance of the city’s first Thanksgiving parade in two years.
While organizers hope the 72nd Annual H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade will be saved from the rain, the show’s producer told KHOU 11 News they have contingency plans.
“If we needed to call the show, we will have parade marshals, officers, with scripts, that they will go and say ‘go to your cars’, you know, ‘shelter in place,’” said Susan Christian, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Special Events.
Christian said the parade is rain-or-shine, though a downpour may impact some performances.
“Lightning, we can’t roll if it’s right over us,” Christian said. “If it’s 30 miles away, we’re alright. If it’s 20 miles away, we’re alright, as long as it’s not coming toward us.”
The wind is always a factor.
“Those balloons, if it gets 19, 20 miles per hour, they won’t be rolling,” Christian said. “Between 10 miles an hour and above, we just have to really evaluate.”
Christian said there are parking garages and indoor spots to hold parade participants in place.
"We’re looking forward to a great Thanksgiving Day and we’re hoping to be ready to roll at 9 a.m,” Christian said. “If mother nature stays on our plan, we’ll have a great event."
Parade security is also top-of-mind after a speeding driver killed six people Sunday at a parade in Wisconsin.
“You see what you see with police officers,” Christian said. “There’s a lot of them out here, but it’s what you don’t see that I can’t discuss that brings me great confidence.”
The parade starts Thursday at 9 a.m. near Houston City Hall and will be broadcast live on KHOU 11 News. Ron Treviño and Deborah Duncan will emcee.