The Parade Company brings winning student’s design to life during 26th annual Skillman Foundation Float Design Contest

New Float, “The Snowing Mountains,” Inspired by Detroit 7 th Grader to Debut in America’s Thanksgiving Parade Presented by Art Van

DETROIT – (November 15, 2017) – The Parade Company and Skillman Foundation today announced the winner of the 26 th Annual Skillman Foundation’s Float Design Contest for America’s Thanksgiving Parade® presented by Art Van. Seventh grade student, Yuliana Ortiz, from Clippert Academy, was joined by her family, teachers and school administrators today as she saw her winning design, “The Snowing Mountains,” transform into a larger-than-life float.

The float, which features a snow-covered house on a hill, kids ice skating, snowmen and trees, will be led by Ortiz and her family during America’s Thanksgiving Parade® presented by Art Van. The float also includes an 80-foot wrap which incorporates the 2017 Honorable Mention winning designs along with other entry favorites.

“We are proud to partner with The Parade Company for another year marked by the inspiring designs and creativity of local Detroit students,” said Tonya Allen, president & CEO of Skillman Foundation. “We were impressed by the amazing submissions by students this year. Yuliana’s designs will be the perfect complement to this year’s parade as it rolls down Woodward Avenue.”

“Skillman Foundation’s dedication to Detroit’s students continues to inspire us year after year,” said Tony Michaels, president & CEO of The Parade Company. “We are grateful for our continued partnership and are proud to help them bring Yuliana’s vision to life.”

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 2017 honorable mention winners were selected and invited to see their designs on display. The students include:

  • Makiyah Degraffenreid – Fisher Upper Magnet, 7th Grade “Circus of Colors”
  • Kimberly Orozco – Clippert Academy, 7th Grade “Carousel”
  • Khyra Norman – Fisher Upper Magnet, 8th Grade “Thanksgiving is About Giving”
  • Jordan Jones – Weston Preparatory Academy, 6th Grade “Dream Neighborhood”
  • Monica Britt – Bates Academy, 7th Grade “The Neighborhood Zoo”

The theme of the 91 st America’s Thanksgiving Parade® presented by Art Van is “Woodward!! Avenue of Dreams!” The theme celebrates the beauty of Detroit’s Woodward Avenue as well as the completion of the QLine Detroit. Woodward Avenue is the backdrop of this annual iconic parade, which will be broadcast locally on WDIV-TV Local 4 and in more than 190 cities across the country. The Parade Company will make a series of announcements for the 91st year including new float builds and celebrities.

Recognized as one of the best Thanksgiving parades in the country by U.S. News & World Report Travel, America’s Thanksgiving Parade® presented by Art Van will be held on Thursday, November 23. The Parade will be featured on WDIV-TV Local 4, including a one-hour national broadcast reaching more than 190 major cities across the country. News/Talk 760 WJR’s Paul W. Smith will host a live pre-parade show from 6 a.m.- 9:30 a.m. CBS Radio will provide live parade coverage hosted by 104.3 WOMC’s Bobby Mitchell and Stacey DuFord (Mornings WOMC) from 10 a.m. – noon. For more information, visit

The Skillman Foundation

Created in 1960, the Skillman Foundation is a private philanthropy committed to improving meaningful graduation rates in the Detroit region, so kids are ready for college, career, and life. The Foundation has assets of nearly a half-billion dollars, with an annual grants budget of $17 million. The Foundation works to achieve its goal by investing in community leadership, neighborhoods, safety initiatives, high-quality schools, social innovation, and youth development.

About The Parade Company

Founded in 1984, The Parade Company is a not-for-profit organization governed by the Michigan Thanksgiving Parade Foundation whose board of directors is comprised of key civic and corporate leaders in the greater Detroit region. The Parade Company is celebrating more than 90 years of Parade tradition in Detroit and is committed to funding, creating and executing the best family events in Michigan. The Parade Company staff, board of directors and thousands of parade volunteers work year-round to bring a wide variety of magnificent events to the City of Detroit and the region including the Ford Fireworks, Strategic Staffing Solutions Turkey Trot, and America’s Thanksgiving Parade® presented by Art Van. Follow The Parade Company on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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