Owensboro native and Burns Middle School cheerleader Akira Tanner will perform in the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday. Tanner tried out for All-American status at cheer camp this summer and wowed the judges, affording her the opportunity.
“It was a goal I set in 6th grade after my first cheer camp,” Tanner said. “I had to perform a dance, a cheer, and jumps. Making All-American qualifies me to participate in several events, and this was one of them.”
Tanner began preparing earlier this month, working on the routine organizers sent her. She’s no rookie either, practicing 5 times a week for over 3 years with her team at Burns.
“I know the importance of working as a team and being able to perform in front of a crowd,” she said. “The parade is over 2.5 hours long, so I know my long practice days of cheer have helped prepare me.”
Tanner will join other cheerleaders from across the country, walking and cheering to the crowds. She and the team will perform for a live TV show at the end of the parade route.
“I am most excited about meeting other girls from other states,” she said. “I am also very excited to be a part of the Thanksgiving Day Parade, the floats, the performers, and the music. It is going to be an unforgettable experience.”
This marks the 103rd year of the Philadelphia parade. Tanner hopes this accomplishment will inspire others to exit their comfort zones and chase their dreams.
“Don’t be afraid to try new things,” Tanner said. “I entered cheer in 6th grade with no experience, and it has grown into something I really love.”