83-year-old woman from Long Island fulfills dream of marching in Thanksgiving Parade

Kemberly Richardson Image
Thursday, November 27, 2014
Dream to be in Macy's Parade comes true for 83-year-old
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Kemberly Richardson has the story.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Thanks to her loving family, an 83-year-old woman from Long Island was able to achieve a life-long dream Thursday.

Betty Regan was a bit overwhelmed at first, as the Bethpage resident was finally to do something she's dreamed about for 50 years.

"I've always been a bit of a clown," she said, laughing.

Regan was among the clowns at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, marching through the streets of Manhattan with millions of spectators watching her journey. Ever since she was little, she's been fascinated by the spectacle. And about 30 years ago, she made a decision.

"I just said I wanted to be in that parade," she said.

But it was easier said then done.

"I started writing letters," she said. "I'd go to Macy's a couple of times and asked if I could be in parade."

She couldn't, she said, so she eventually gave up trying.

What she didn't know is that her family was secretly plotting and managed to land her a spot in this year's parade.

Then, in October on her birthday, they surprised her. A card announced she made it, but Betty didn't get it. She thought she was just going to see the parade. They captured her amazing realization on home video, though it took some time to sink in.

Like the other marchers, Betty went to clown school.

"The fella who put on my makeup said I had good skin," she said.

And she made her big debut with her daughter by her side.

"I am so proud," Kathy Lively said. "We're all in tears, the seven of us in the family. My brothers cried, we cried."

So the woman who has zip lined, rode elephants and traveled the world can now check something else off her bucket list.