Local girl performs in the 2017 Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade

Every year millions of Americans watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It has become a tradition for most, and is pure magic seeing all the floats, dancing, singers and music. Knowing that each person who takes part must have put in a lot of hard work to get there and seeing the end result is magical.

Many younger girls dream about the chance to be part of this magic. This dream became reality for a local girl, Emma Bolton, 12, of Brooksville this Thanksgiving. Emma who began dancing at the age of 3 had the privilege to audition and dance in the 2017 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with Camp Broadway. The dance piece she performed was called “This Is a Great Country/ Grand Ole Flag’ and Emma could be seen by the entire country right around 10:40 that morning.

The criteria for entry was a video submission with your parent being an active member of the military, or veteran parent or grandparent. She had numerous family members who had served, making this performance all the more special to her. Emma’s mom, Kim Bolton, said her daughter was, “very, very excited, she couldn’t believe she was accepted” when she heard the news.

While Emma was a little bummed about missing Thanksgiving with the entire family, she knew this was a chance of a lifetime. The week leading up to the parade was a whirlwind for Emma, her mom, and older sister Ashlyn. They arrived in New York City on Saturday afternoon, and from then on it was orientation, group singing and dance class, rehearsals, costumes, dress rehearsal.

The most memorable parts for Emma was the blocking rehearsal, which took place prior to the parade, in Herald Square, and her parade performance. She loved walking in the parade with all the people cheering and clapping and being on National TV! Another highlight for Emma was seeing the limbs for the tree in Rockefeller Center being cut, while visiting the American Girl Doll Store. After the parade, they had a nontraditional Thanksgiving dinner at Sugar Factory in the meatpacking district.

I asked her mother Kim to tell me a little more about Emma. She is homeschooled, enjoys dance, art, farm, and serving the community with the Wings of Service group here in Hernando County. Her favorite dance styles are tap, jazz, and ballet. Emma is part of the Patel Conservatory at the Straz Center for Performing Arts. She will be performing there in December in The Nutcracker which will run the week before Christmas and Emma will be seen in all 4 performances as a matryoshka doll and as a soldier in 2. She will begin rehearsals for that this week. For Emma being in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade gave her an opportunity to step out of the shadow of her two older siblings and shine in her own right. When asked if she’d do it again the answer was, “yes, in a heartbeat!” For Emma Bolton and her family this was a Thanksgiving to remember. If you’d like to see Emma’s talent at work be sure to get a ticket to one of her performances at the Straz Center.