Niles teen to be in Macy’s parade

NILES — Niles McKinley High School senior Mindy McGann will have a special story to share for years to come with her friends and family as a participant on a float in this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.

McGann, 18, sent a Facebook message to a distant relative, Lenny Drenski, a Bristol native who is a production manager for the Macy’s parade, asking whether she could be part of the parade in some way.

Kim McGann, Mindy’s mother, said Drenski responded that he had found her a spot on the ”Cheer Float” in the parade. The ”Cheer Float,” which the McGanns learned would be near the beginning of the parade, includes a pep rally theme with cheerleaders and football players.

Accompanying Mindy on the float will be family members, Lee Harrison and Michelle Hyder, both of Niles. Harrison said both she and Mindy will be in costume.

”Many of our family members have been on a float or have worked at the parade in past years,” said Kim McGann. McGann said several cousins have also helped drive vehicles that have pulled floats in addition to working on the floats.

Drenski started in 2006 as a carpenter working on floats and has slowly moved up the ranks to production manager.

Harrison said this will be the second time she and Mindy McGann have been to New York City, but the first time in the parade, which is three miles in length.

Mindy, who is in a wheelchair, said she is excited to be in the parade and doesn’t even mind getting up early on Thanksgiving. The parade runs along Central Park West from 77th Street to Columbus Circle, then east onto Central Park South.

She’s especially excited to see celebrities who are participating.

”The workers from the Macy’s studio will hold a Thanksgiving dinner at a warehouse on Friday. They have all been invited to eat Thanksgiving dinner,” said Kim McGann.

”I have told all my friends at school what I will be doing,” said Mindy.

In fact, Harrison said, ”She has told everyone … When she gets back she may sign autographs.”

Kim McGann said she will be watching the parade from home. Hyder, who will be on the trip but not in the parade, will be watching from the grandstand. And the rest of the trip will be spent sightseeing around New York City.

Also scheduled to be part of the Macy’s parade is LaBrae High School junior Brady Phillips , 17, a member of the Stambaugh Youth Concert Band, who will be playing trumpet and marching among 300 band members in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade’s Great American Band.

The parade will be broadcast live on NBC beginning at 9 a.m. Thursday.