Detroit Lion and Hall of Famer Calvin Johnson and Bishop Edgar Vann will be grand marshals of next month’s America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in Detroit, parade officials announced Thursday morning.
“We are thrilled to welcome Calvin Johnson and Bishop Vann as this year’s Grand Marshals for America’s Thanksgiving Parade presented by Gardner-White,” said Tony Michaels, president & CEO, The Parade Company. “Both are beloved figures in Detroit who have worked tirelessly to elevate our city and serve our community. It will be exciting to celebrate with them on Woodward Avenue on Thanksgiving morning.”
Johnson, known as “Megatron,” spent his entire nine-season career with the Detroit Lions, breaking nearly every franchise receiving record. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame earlier this year and celebrated during halftime of the Lions’ game against the Baltimore Ravens last month.
“It’s an honor to represent Detroit,” said Johnson during the ceremony at Ford Field. “I love you guys. … I love you guys, love the energy y’all brought every single game. I miss you guys. I look forward to great things in the future here in Detroit.”
Vann, meanwhile, is a longtime spiritual and community leader in the city. He’s a bishop at Second Ebenezer Church, which has 6,000 members. His father also was a spiritual leader.
In 1995, Vann founded Vanguard Community Development Corp. to strengthen Detroit’s Northeast area. Over the years, Vanguard has invested $65 million in redeveloped housing and commercial property in the area, including building affordable single-family homes and a state-of-the-art senior citizen complex, according to Second Ebenezer’s website.
The parade, now in its 95th year, returns to a live format with fans along Woodward Avenue this year after being broadcast-only last year because of the pandemic. The theme is “Love on Woodward.”
Marla Drutz, WDIV’s longtime general manager and vice president, also will be honored at this year’s parade as an honorary grand marshal.