Family tradition: Burnside siblings to march in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Published 3:07 pm Monday, November 23, 2009

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade has been a family tradition for the Burnside family for many years.

The family watches the parade on television each year, but this year they will have a much closer view this Thanksgiving as daughter Kaitlyn, a Pelham High School senior, has been chosen as the first-ever student drum major, while brother Andrew, a PHS freshman, will also march in the parade.

“I’m ecstatic,” said father Jeff, who is the PHS band director and will serve as a parent chaperone alongside wife Katy, who is also a teacher at PHS.

“With my experience directing bands for many years, being able to perform in the Macy’s parade is the pinnacle for any band student,” Jeff said. “There’s probably not another brother-sister combination marching in the parade, which makes it great from a mom and dad standpoint.”

The Burnside siblings applied for the parade and were accepted, but Kaitlyn had not marched in years since she serves as the PHS drum major, so she inquired about the possibility of serving in the same capacity in the Macy’s parade.

After originally being told no, Kaitlyn finally received a call saying she would be the first student drum major in the parade.

“I’m a little scared because I’m the only one up so I have to do everything right,” Kaitlyn said.

But since Andrew will be marching near her and Jeff and Katy will be walking alongside as chaperones, Kaitlyn said that takes some of the pressure off and hopes to make for a day that will last forever in memory.

“The fact that (Andrew) gets to go with me is so exciting,” Kaitlyn said. “(My parents) have talked about the parade for years and for them to get to see us enjoying it, while at the same time us getting to see them enjoying us march is just really cool.”

For Andrew, getting to see all that he has seen on TV since he was a child is exciting, but this time he will get to see it up close and personal.

“It’s going to be cool to walk down the streets with no cars and all those balloons,” Andrew said. “And I’ve always wanted to be on TV.”

For Katy, the parade has always been special.

“If you ever get a chance to go, it can’t be beat,” Katy said.

But this year, with Kaitlyn and Andrew marching together, it should be the best Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade the Burnsides have ever witnessed.

“To me, it’s indescribable,” Katy said.