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31 floats, 1 parade and 2 Lindas from a North Carolina town

November 22, 2018
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Linda Smith and Linda Dodson hold official entry passes to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade as float escorts for the Mount Rushmore's American Pride float during an interview in Hickory, N.C. on Nov. 16, 2018. (Robert C. Reed/The Daily Record via AP)

HICKORY, N.C. (AP) — Linda Smith, 69, and Linda Dodson, 70, couldn’t hold back their excitement when they learned they would escort the Mount Rushmore’s American Pride float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City this year.

Dodson is no stranger to the Big Apple, and Smith used to live in Queens with her husband. However, this will be their first time participating in a parade.

“I’ve wanted to be in the parade for a while,” Smith said. “I was looking for someone to do it with me and Linda said she would.”

“My hands are always up,” Dodson said. “If anybody’s going anywhere, I’ll go.”

Smith and Dodson have been neighbors in Hickory for the last four years. They’re friends that do almost everything together like watching the television show “Game of Thrones,” traveling to Ireland and now walking beside a float in the 92nd Macy’s parade.

Smith’s son, John, is a Macy’s store manager in Washington D.C. and Marlow Heights, Md. He recommended his mother and Dodson for the parade and after a lengthy screening process, they were selected.

As part of the Mount Rushmore float in the parade, Smith and Dodson are scheduled to report to costume fitting at 6:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving. The parade begins at 9 a.m.

“We had to give them every single measurement of our body, and we couldn’t lie,” Dodson laughed. “There are people on the float dressed as statues, and I was hoping that wasn’t us.”

Smith and Dodson drove to Virginia on Monday and plan to take a train from D.C. to NYC early today. They’ll spend Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in the city.

“We have a late reservation for Carmine’s (Italian restaurant) on Wednesday and then we’ll try to see a show or something,” Dodson said.

“I’d like to go to the ‘Today’ show, if we can make it in time,” Smith said.

According the Macy’s parade website, there will be 25 giant balloons, seven balloonicles (self-powered balloon vehicles), 31 floats, 20 performers, 12 marching bands, more than 1,000 clowns and three performance groups. Famous acts like John Legend and Pentatonix will perform in the parade.

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Information from: The Hickory Daily Record, http://www.hickoryrecord.com

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