Nothing says Thanksgiving quite like The Macy's Day Parade. And while Madison County will be well represented thanks to the Madison Central marching band, the students won't be the only ones with a Madison County connection.
Madison Central alum Jean Elliott will be performing in the parade with the group The Second Time Arounders.
The Second Time Arounders, which is based in Florida, gives those who were previously in a band whether it be in high school, college or the military, the chance to perform again.
"We develop great friends with people who have a similar interest," Elliott said.
Elliott was a member of the Madison Central band from fall of 1967 to spring of '71 and was a drum major her senior year. After graduating, she went to Morehead State where she spent two seasons in the marching band.
When Elliott graduated college she, married retired Col. David T. Elliott and they moved across the country with the military. One such move brought the couple to Tampa, Florida, where Elliott first saw The Second Time Arounders as they performed in The Festival of States Parade.
"We saw that the band was filled with people of all ages having a great time, and we were intrigued," Jean Elliott said.
Only when Elliott moved back to Tampa the second time around and retired from her job at the Walt Disney Co. did she try and find out more about the band she had seen years ago.
Since joining the band, Elliott has had the chance to perform in parades such as The Cherry Blossom festival in the nation's capital as well as many local festivals in Florida and more.
"Every year is a new adventure," Elliott said.
This year's adventure brings them to one of the largest parades in the United States, but it isn't The Second Time Arounders' first time performing in The Macy's Day Parade. The group performed 10 years ago in the parade and were actually invited to apply to perform again this year.
In order to be accepted, the band had to go through a two-year process that included sending in videos of their current performances, pictures of their current costumes, and information such as how many members performed with the band.
Elliott estimated that there were around 124 bands that applied to perform in The Macy's Day Parade, and only nine bands were chosen.
In order to prepare for the parade, The Second Time Arounders have been practicing all summer long, not an easy thing to do in the Florida summer heat.
"We've put a lot of sweat into having every bit of our performance perfect," Elliott said.
One additional bit of work that The Second Time Arounders had to put in was the fundraising that went into paying for the members to get to New York City. Elliott explained that each member was responsible for paying for their travel, uniforms and instruments. In order to raise the money, members did everything from working concessions at local sports games to pouring beer at their city's pub.
Most members are flying to New York City, but Elliott explained that all of the instruments for the band were shipped by truck. Once they arrive, the band will be patiently awaiting the start of the parade.
But their day doesn't begin when the parade starts, according to Elliott. The bands will be in their positions as early as 2:30 a.m. so that they have time to practice and make sure everything is spot on.
The band's big moment, a televised solo performance, lasts for less than two minutes, but they hope that it will be an enjoyable piece of art, Elliott said.
Many of the band members' friends and families will be there to cheer on The Second Time Arounders as they perform in the parade.
"After the parade, we're hoping to get a few winks of sleep and then have Thanksgiving dinner with 750 of our closest friends," Elliott said.