Education

Detroit 4th Grader Inspires New “Let’s Be Thankful” Float for America’s Thanksgiving Parade

Karayna Wayne, winner of The 27th Annual Skillman Foundation Float Design Contest.
Karayna Wayne, winner of the 27th Annual Skillman Foundation Float Design Contest.

The Parade Company and The Skillman Foundation announced the winner of the 27th Annual Skillman Foundation’s Float Design Contest for America’s Thanksgiving Parade® presented by Art Van. Fourth grade student Karayna Wayne from Weston Prep Academy was joined by her family, teachers and school administrators as her winning illustration, “Let’s Be Thankful!” was transformed into a larger-than-life float.

The float, which features sculpted children and a large 14-foot-tall globe with a smiling face on it, will be led down the parade route by Wayne and her family during America’s Thanksgiving Parade® presented by Art Van. The float also includes an 80-foot wrap which incorporates the 2018 Honorable Mention winning designs along with other entry favorites.

“We were so impressed with the creativity of the entries we received from hundreds of Detroit students,” said Tonya Allen, president & CEO of The Skillman Foundation. “Our annual float is a way to showcase the city’s young talent. We’re thankful for The Parade Company for bringing Karayna’s vision to life for all to see on Thanksgiving morning.”

The winner of the The 27th Annual Skillman Foundation Float Design Contest.
Karayna alongside Parade Company President & CEO Tony Michaels (left) and Skillman Foundation President & CEO Tonya Allen (right).

“We are grateful for The Skillman Foundation’s continued support of the parade and this fabulous and beloved float design contest,” said Tony Michaels, president & CEO of The Parade Company. “It’s a special day at The Parade Company each year to see these young, talented students and their families celebrate their creativity and imaginations. We are thrilled to feature the winners’ design in America’s Thanksgiving Parade presented by Art Van.”

The Annual Skillman Foundation’s Float Design Contest provides Detroit students, from grades four through eight, an opportunity to design a float to appear in America’s Thanksgiving Parade® presented by Art Van. Five 2018 honorable mention winners were also selected and invited to see their designs on display.

Honorable Mentions

Jessica Mason 2018 Skillman Foundation Float Design Contest

“Dream Big”

Jessica Mason
Fisher Magnet Upper Academy, 8th Grade

 

 

Felix Reed 2018 Skillman Foundation Float Design Contest

“The Thankful Thanksgiving Tree”

Felix Reed
Henry Ford Academy: School for Creative Studies, 7th Grade

 

Felix Reed 2018 Skillman Foundation Float Design Contest“Neighborhood Orchard”

Ariana Sparks
Bates Academy, 8th Grade

 

 

Love-Lee Ladie Jones 2018 Skillman Foundation Float Design Contest“I’m Thankful!”

Love-Lee Ladie Jones 
Pasteur Elementary, 6th Grade

 

 

Juania Harris 2018 Skillman Foundation Float Design Contest

“Aqualand”

Juania Harris
GEE Edmonson Academy, 6th Grade

 

 

Celebrating its 92nd year, America’s Thanksgiving Parade® presented by Art Van takes place on Thursday, November 22. To commemorate the life and legacy of longtime parade supporter Art Van Elslander, “Art!! Heart & Soul!” has been announced as this year’s theme. Gary and David Van Elslander will be riding in the parade. A friend of the parade for over 30 years, Van Elslander is remembered and recognized as a great supporter of the Detroit community. Art Van Furniture, now under new ownership, continues the outstanding partnership with The Parade Company as presenting sponsor of America’s Thanksgiving Parade presented by Art Van.

Recognized as one of the Best Holiday Parades in the USA Today 10 Best Reader’s Choice travel award contest and one of the best Thanksgiving parades in the country by U.S. News & World Report Travel, the 2018 America’s Thanksgiving Parade® presented by Art Van took place on Thursday, November 22.

Click here to view photos from the float reveal event and click here for photos from the parade! 

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