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Posted at 10:43 AM ET, 11/20/2007

Thanksgiving: Celebs with a Side of Cheese

By Liz Kelly

The Healthy Mr. Potato Head, we presume. (AP)

Just two days from now we'll be subjected to the annual American celebration of excess, Thanksgiving, in which we patriotically overeat, tolerate relatives we spend the other 364 days of the year evading and watch some football to avoid talking to each other. It's great.

The big warmup kicks off Thursday morning, though, when various hot-air-filled entities (including Sponge Bob and Willard Scott), corporate sponsors and the staff of the "Today" show at their corniest conspire to deliver the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Don't let my wry tone fool you. I watch every year like the good little capitalist. Who doesn't love a marching band or watching the cast of some Broadway musical shiver their way through a number from their show? It's the perfect backdrop for a Turkey-day morning kitchen, replete with mingling aromas of stuffing, boiling potatoes and crushed cranberries.

And, for the stargazers among us, the parade offers a chance to scoff at each year's crop of celebrities making the obligatory parade appearance on their way up or down the fame ladder. This year's array is typically eclectic -- "High School Musical's" Ashley Tisdale will be there. As will Bindi Irwin, who has stepped into her late father's Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin's shoes since his death. Bindi will be joined by the "Crocmen." Celebritologists will be watching Good Charlotte's appearance closely for a glimpse of frontman Joel Madden's baby mamma Nicole Richie. And, take note lovers of boy bands, a reformulated Menudo will perform. For the AARP crowd, the aforementioned Willard Scott will be there, as will Dolly Parton -- who comes with her own balloons. Also expected: "Idol" winner Jordin Sparks, Miss USA Rachel Smith, Ne-Yo, "Hairspray's" Nikki Blonsky and Wynonna Judd.

If floats are more your bag, this year we'll see a few new ones -- Shrek and a "Super Cute" Hello Kitty (as opposed to the "Hideously Rabid" version). My personal favorites are the new "Novelty Balloon" Planet Earth -- there just has to be a joke in there somewhere about global warming, hot air and the fossil fuel powering this procession down Broadway -- and the "Healthy Mr. Potato Head" (again, the savvy Macy's staff must've chosen him over "Mr. Crack-Potato-Head)."

Parade coverage kicks off at 9 a.m. ET Thursday on NBC. Enjoy.

(Tomorrow's posting will be slightly abbreviated, but will include the results of last week's Creative Captioning.)

By Liz Kelly  | November 20, 2007; 10:43 AM ET
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