BENTONVILLE — Several Arkansas students will participate in the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York.
Allie Abide, Kayton Little, Samantha Petch and Ariel Trimble of Bentonville High School and Dylan Engholm of West High School will be among 185 musicians and 40 color guard members from across the country performing Thursday with the Macy's Great American Marching Band.
Students had to apply and audition for the opportunity. Abide, Trimble and Petch play the flute, Little plays the trumpet and Engholm plays saxophone. All are members of their respective schools' marching bands.
They will march in front of a few million spectators lining the streets of New York City. Many millions more will watch the parade on television. It will air starting at 8 a.m. on NBC.
The parade route is about 2½ miles.
Abide, 18, performed with the Macy's Great American Marching Band last year, along with several other Bentonville students who have since graduated. Her best memory from last year was the feeling she had just as the parade was about to start.
"I remember feeling so hyped, and the adrenaline pumping through me," Abide said. "It's an indescribable feeling. It's really cool to meet people from across the nation as well."
The Big Apple is bracing for one of its coldest Thanksgivings ever. The high temperature will be 28 degrees, and there will be wind of 22 mph and gusts up to 33 mph, according to the National Weather Service. Abide said band members have been provided HotHands hand warmers, and she plans to wear several layers.
The students arrived in New York on Saturday. Their time has been split between rehearsals and sightseeing activities, Abide said.
She acknowledged feeling some pressure performing in the parade, but added, "I know we just have to do what we've always been doing in rehearsal, work at it and have fun."
Abide said she never imagined she'd be in the Macy's parade when she started playing the flute in the sixth grade. She credited the School District and its band program for getting her this far.