People across the nation gathered for Thanksgiving celebrations Thursday with family meals, parades and help for the needy. But while the holiday traditions carried on, some were marching to the beat of a different drumstick.
Thousands of people braved a chilly morning to line New York City's Broadway for the 67th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, a showcase for marching bands and huge helium balloons of cartoon characters.
One new balloon, video game character "Sonic the Hedgehog," went astray in the morning breeze and toppled a street light. Falling pieces of the light slightly injured two spectators, and the balloon was removed from the parade.
Other attractions included 17 floats bearing celebrities such as model Fabio, actor Kelsey Grammer, psychologist Dr. Joyce Brothers and actress Debbie Reynolds.
In Biloxi, Miss., Mary Joiner fixed Thanksgiving dinner for 300 of her closest friends and relatives.
"A lot of people do not have a place to call their own," Joiner said before the annual feast at Loaves and Fishes, a soup kitchen where she is manager. "Having a place like this at least gives them that. It would have helped when I was living on the streets 15 years ago."
In Savannah, Ga., area chefs were joining together for the second year to feed hungry youths.
In the Midwest, families on both sides of the Mississippi River took a break from rebuilding flood-devastated homes to attend dinners.
"Most of these people are already being taken care of on Thanksgiving Day," said Charles Schwaab, whose Salvation Army office in Grafton, Ill., prepared a meal Wednesday night for about 200 people. "This is just a little bit extra to help them get back on their feet."
At Camp David, Md., President Clinton spent a traditional Thanksgiving with family and relatives.
But James Carville, a leader in Clinton's election campaign, was among those giving their own special meaning to the holiday. He was marrying Mary Matalin in New Orleans' French Quarter and throwing a party featuring Dixieland jazz. The two are from opposite political camps: She helped mastermind the campaign of former President George Bush.
Nuptials also rivaled victuals for Eula Grooms and Donald Lozon, who were going to exchange vows atop a wedding cake float in the Thanksgiving Day Parade in Detroit.
For some, eating Thanksgiving dinner is a marathon experience. For others, the marathon comes first: Atlanta held its marathon and half-marathon races.
In Libby, Mont., Lloyd and Shirley Siebold carried on their own Thanksgiving tradition, an annual holiday fracas over how to make the perfect pumpkin pie crust.
The Siebolds, married 38 years, have this fight or one like it every year, Lincoln County sheriff's dispatcher Charlene Williamson said. She sent two deputies when Lloyd locked Shirley out of the house Tuesday.
Keeping with the spirit of the holiday, they settled their differences, at least until next year.