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Pilgrim descendants miss Thanksgiving parade boat

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This year's annual Thanksgiving parade in Detroit will not feature a group representing the descendants of the holiday's first celebrants.

The Michigan chapter of the Society of Mayflower Descendants requested a slot in the nation's second-largest Thanksgiving Day parade, but their application was rejected by the Detroit parade organizers, who said that they didn't fill out the form correctly.

"We have a very organized application process," said Tony Michaels, president and CEO of the Parade Co. "The Mayflower society … pretty much took themselves out of the running by not filling out the application correctly."

He added, however, they would be welcome to participate next year if they submit a properly filled out application, and said the denial was not based upon political correctness.

June Gorman, governor of the Michigan brach of the Mayflower Society said that her organization had already invested almost $1,000 in supplies for their participation in the parade, including period-correct costumes and a banner.

"We had to rent costumes … and that would have been well over $500 or $600," she said. "It was nearly $1,000 investment."

She added that the parade organizers never gave them a reason why their application was rejected until the story was picked up by the media.

The annual parade, which stretches through 1.5 miles of downtown Detroit, had at least 150 applicants for 64 available slots, and Mr. Michaels said that they don't have the manpower to track down each applicant individually and ask them to complete their application.

"If you simply follow the guidelines … it makes it all pretty easy," he said.

The General Society of Mayflower Descendants has more than 50 groups across the U.S. and Canada, and welcomes anyone who can prove that they are a descendant of a pilgrim.

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