Watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on television has always been part of Bailey Smith’s holiday traditions.

“As a child, it was an unspoken rule in our house that no one disturb me while I watched the parade,” said Smith, 27, who dreamed of being part of the iconic procession.

Smith will soon get her wish for a second time. Smith, the Wells High School Color Guard director, will travel to New York City with three of the school’s squad members to participate in the 189th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, set to air at 9 a.m. Nov. 26 on NBC.

She and Wells students Adrienne Perron and Anna Libby marched in the 2014 parade, and this year squad member Mallory Cashman will join them.

The team will perform as members of Macy’s Great American Marching Band, an all-star assemblage of musicians, flag bearers and dancers from around the country.

Perron and Cashman will perform choreographed maneuvers on the flag line and Libby will dance.

The trio was invited to perform following a demanding audition process that required each girl to create a video showing mastery of rudimentary elements and original choreography.

“It is an immense honor to be chosen to participate in the parade, but to have three students accepted from the same school is an even bigger honor,” said Smith. “These girls are exceptional performers, dedicated to the work and never miss a practice.”

Libby, 17, a dancer since age 3, said “the honor of performing in the parade last year was the best experience of my life.”

“Marching on famous streets, in front of thousands of people, was so exhilarating and amazing beyond words. You get lost in the energy. The smile never left my face.”

Perron, 17, said watching the Macy’s parade has always been one of her favorite parts of Thanksgiving and that being able to perform last year was “a dream come true.”

A senior, Perron is mindful that this will be her last outing with the squad, so she plans to savor every moment of the journey.

“This experience will be an absolute blast and I can’t wait to share it with my best friends and my coach,” said Perron.

Teams arrive in New York on Nov. 20 for uniform fittings, followed by a jam-packed week of training and touring.

Dancers, flag performers and musicians will practice each day at separate venues before forming a corps at a New Jersey armory on Nov. 25.

“To watch it all come together is an incredible experience,” said Smith, who will oversee the welfare of 20 students throughout the week.

By Thanksgiving Day, they will all be running on adrenaline and little sleep.

“We have to be up by 10:30 p.m. the night before to be in hair and make-up by 12:30 a.m. and at a dress rehearsal at Herald Square at 2:45 a.m.,” said Smith.

After an early breakfast, the team will take their place in the parade line-up by 7:30 a.m. for a scheduled 10:30 a.m. march from 77th Street and Central Park West to Herald Square at Broadway and 34th Street.

Last year, the squad marched in freezing rain but said it was worth it to experience this slice of Americana.

The day will end with a Thanksgiving meal and dance for all team members.

In order to make the trip, each girl must raise $1,700. Those wishing to donate should make checks payable to Wells Color Guard, with “Macy’s” in the memo line, and mail to Bailey Smith, Wells High School, 200 Sanford Road, Wells, ME 04090.

 


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