Most people in Italy, Texas sit in front of the television and watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade on Thanksgiving Day, but for one Italy High School senior that did not happen this year. Taylor Turner could not watch the parade on television this year because she was in New York City participating in the parade.
After attending cheer camp this year, she qualified to try out for All American Cheerleaders. As a senior captain, she became eligible to try out for the Macy’s parade. She was notified in June that she, along with 799 other cheerleaders, had been given the honor of performing in the 87th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. There were also 800 dancers that made the cut. She raised the required $1,550 plus her airfare and made plans to go.
“This was the first time I had flown so it was a new experience for me,” Turner said. “I also had not gone anywhere like this by myself. It was exciting seeing all the sights in New York City as well as meeting all the girls.”
Her schedule was hectic for the seven days she was there. The first day they rehearsed for 10 hours.
“I lost 10 pounds the week I was there,” she said. “Because of our schedules, we were not getting much sleep and they only fed us small sandwiches and apples. I am not used to that. I drank a lot of coffee to warm me up and to keep my energy up. I felt like Starbuck’s coffee was my best friend,” she said with a laugh.
She said it was 23 degrees on Thanksgiving morning. They had to get up at 4:00 a.m., be downstairs by 5:30, run a mile to the subway and ride to their check-in area. To keep warm before the parade, the girls were given silver thermal blankets to wrap up in. She said they looked like a bunch of baked potatoes in foil. After they performed in the staging area, they walked the entire four-mile parade route doing chants and yells.
There were girls there from every state. Taylor said she learned first hand that people do things differently in different parts of the country. The girls from Nebraska were not allowed to do stunts because stunting is against the law there. She said it was almost like some of the girls were from a foreign country.
“One of the girls from Missouri asked me if I wanted to go and get a pop. I did not know what she was talking about. After asking several questions, I finally realized what she meant. I asked her if she meant a coke and she said no, that she wanted a sprite.”
Taylor said she loved seeing all the sights in NYC. She was humbled at the 911 Memorial. She was in kindergarten when the tragedy happened, but can remember that day all too well. She loved the view from the top of the Empire State Building and seeing the Brooklyn Bridge. She was disappointed in the size of the Statue of Liberty; she thought it would be much bigger.
One of the highlights of her trip was meeting the “real” Santa Claus. He wished them luck on their performance which was exciting. She also loved watching the Rockettes perform and visiting M & M World.
She is no stranger to performing in Macy’s parades. She performed in the Macy’s parade in Houston when she was in the 8th grade. She knows that this trip was one that most people don’t get to experience and she feels honored to have been selected. She hopes to go back to New York City one day and see more of the city. She loved the experience.
Taylor will graduate from Italy High School in 2014 and plans to major in Physics at San Angelo State University.