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Thanksgiving parade recognizes music great Aretha Franklin

DETROIT (AP) — Aretha Franklin’s family members traveled in Ford Mustangs to honor the late music great and a high school marching band performed her signature tunes Thursday during Detroit’s Thanksgiving parade.

Thousands of spectators lined the three-mile (4.8-kilometer) route in sub-freezing temperatures along Woodward Avenue Thursday morning from Midtown to downtown for the parade’s 92nd year. The event featured 26 floats.

The Cass Tech High School marching band performed Franklin’s hits. Franklin’s son, Eddie Franklin, and niece, Sabrina Owens, were among the family members traveling in Mustangs.

“We were honored to be invited to be a part of a Detroit tradition,” Owens told The Associated Press. “Aretha loved the holiday season, so it was great for the family to be able to represent her.”

Other tributes to the Queen of Soul included a routine by the Mid American Pompon All Star Team.

“We just wanted (to honor Franklin) with a touch of class,” Tony Michaels, president and CEO of The Parade Company, told The Detroit News Wednesday.

Franklin, who spent most of her life in and around Detroit, died Aug. 16 at 76.

Sportscaster Jim Nantz served as grand marshal. Other celebrities included baseball Hall of Famer and former Detroit Tiger pitcher Jack Morris, the Disney Channel’s Sofia Wylie and Olympic snowboarder Kyle Mack.

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