Jacksonport’s quirky little parade with a big community impact

JACKSONPORT, Wis. (WBAY) – Thursday is the 20th annual Jacksonport Thanksgiving Day Parade in Door County.

It’s become a tradition for many families in the area — but it’s not just for fun, it’s also a chance to help people in need.

The parade started at 10:30 Thanksgiving morning at Jacksonport Town Hall and headed to County Highway V, then looped on to the highway.

The route is less than a mile long, and this is known as a quirky, eclectic little parade. Sometimes coordinators don’t know who’s going to be in it until the day of the parade.

But it has a big impact.

Each year the parade raises money for someone in the community who’s going through a difficult time.

Over the years it’s raised money for a 5-year-old with retina cancer and a teen with brain cancer.

This year the money raised will help Marsha Wilson, a veteran of the Jacksonport Volunteer Fire Department. She recently had hip surgery and will have knee surgery next month.

“She has developed a lot of physical damage, so she’s out of work. So she’s our cause this year. We’re raising money to help her. We are also going to help out Feed and Clothe My People by adopting some families to help them out,” Lindsay De Young, one of the coordinators, said.

Volunteers walk through the crowds with five-gallon buckets, collecting cash.

Wilson said she has driven the fire truck in the parade for about 15 years and is thankful she was chosen as recipient of the money this year.

Coordinators say on average they raise about $3,000 each year.

“The streets are lined. You know, it’s a small parade route, but we’ve got people standing three, four, or five deep sometimes on that parade route. It’s just amazing that our little community comes together and shows so much support,” De Young said.

Students from Gibraltar and Sevastopol schools are helping as well. They help organize floats and collect money. The marching bands also perform.