(Minghui.org) The 83rd McDonald's® Thanksgiving Parade was held in Chicago on November 24, 2016. Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa) practitioners were invited to participate in the parade. They have participated in the annual parade for over ten consecutive years. The Falun Gong procession was placed in the tenth position of the parade. Their rich cultural performance earned warm applause from spectators.

The Thanksgiving parade is the biggest parade in Chicago. It is estimated that 400,000 viewers watch the parade in person, and 3.5 million watch the live broadcast on TV each year. The hosting organization selected about 100 groups from numerous applicants. The magnificent parade features gigantic balloons, marching bands, cavalry, decorated floats, and colorful performing groups.

Falun Dafa practitioners participate in the 83rd Thanksgiving Parade in Chicago on November 24, 2016.

Celestial maidens perform in the parade.

Practitioners demonstrate the exercises on the float.

Lucy Atkinson from Cincinnati, Ohio, viewed the parade in person. She said that the Falun Gong procession was inspiring and that the float and dancing significantly enriched the parade. She was impressed most by the three words “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance” displayed in the procession. She indicated that the words appeared peaceful and unifying.

In the audience were many Chinese viewers, including immigrant professionals, students, visitors, and tourists, who enjoyed watching the parade and experienced the freedom of seeing Falun Gong proudly displayed in the parade.

Mr. Cao, who came to the United States less than three years ago, works in suburban Chicago. He said, “I saw the Thanksgiving parade last year for the first time. I was so impressed, I came again this year.”

Watching the Falun Gong procession passing by, he added, “They are kind-hearted people. The procession is graceful and rich in Chinese traditional culture.

“I had misunderstandings about Falun Gong when I was in China. I have changed my view now, because it (Falun Gong) was banned in China and here it is quite different.”