TYLER, Texas (KETK) – In honor of their 75th anniversary, the Apache Belles were surprised with the opportunity to open the Houston Thanksgiving parade.

“It’s so special,” sophomore Audrey Smith said. “You know, growing up in dance we’ve been able to perform in local parades and marching local parades, and you kind of get to feel like the celebrity because you are local and everyone knows who you are. But being in the Houston parade where people may not know who we are is just really special to be a part of something bigger.”

This will be the 27th time the Belles have appeared in the parade. One girl is even performing on the same stage her mother did.

“I’m also very excited because my mom was a Belle, and she did the Houston parade, so I get to carry that on and do it for the 75th year,” sophomore Reagan Morris said.

For some of the girls this will be their first Houston parade, and a dream come true.

“It’s obviously my first time performing as an Apache Belle in this parade, and I’ve grown up watching the Houston parade on TV, and so it’s just really exciting to be a part of it this year,” freshman Caraline Otte said.

You’ll get to see high kicks, spins and jump splits along the parade route.

“My favorite part of the routine is the jump split, it’s an all-time fav, crowd pleaser,” sophomore Dakira Mitchell said.

The parade kicks off the holiday season and the Apache Belles are adding something extra this year.

“In honor of our 75th anniversary we’ve thrown in a Christmas show,” Apache Belles director Jasilyn Schaefer said.

The TJC Apache Band will also be a part of this performance, which takes place Dec. 9 and 10 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 for 6 and up; 5 and under are free.

“There’s going to be Christmas sing-alongs, live music, dancing, snow will fall, we’ve got Christmas cookies, it’s really going to be a family wide event,” Schaefer said.

They will be taking their final bow for the 75th year and looking forward to many more to come.

Visit HEB’s Thanksgiving Parade website for more information on how to watch the parade live.

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