Unlike many children her age, Courtney Anderson won't be at home Thursday enjoying a Thanksgiving turkey.
Instead, the 12-year-old will be performing in New York before millions.
Courtney, a seventh-grader at Stallings Island Middle School, was one of 300 performers chosen to sing and dance in front of Herald Square during the 82nd annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade finale in Camp Broadway's musical, I Believe in Santa Claus .
"There is going to be a special guest star, which we have no idea who that is," she said.
Courtney and her mother, Carrie Anderson, left for New York City Nov. 20, and will return to their Evans home the day after the parade.
"We're actually celebrating Thanksgiving on Friday," Anderson said.
Courtney attended Camp Broadway at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta during the summer and auditioned with thousands of children in July for a part in the musical.
During a trip to Disneyland in California, her mother received a text message with news that Courtney had landed a spot in the performance.
"Before she even auditioned, I told her 'I'm not going to pay for it,' " said Anderson, who attended college at New York University and previously worked as a professional actress.
" 'If you get in, you have to raise the money to earn it.' "
Courtney has spent the past 3 1/2 months raising money for the trip, which costs $3,000. In addition to running a lemonade stand every weekend in the summer, she also baby-sat and worked other odd jobs to raise the money.
"I raised about $2,000 dollars from the lemonade stand, and then the rest has been from a bake sale and donations," she said.
A Macy's Day Parade Fund also was set up for Courtney at the Georgia Bank and Trust in Martinez.
Once in New York, Courtney was to participate in a five-day program with Camp Broadway to learn a routine for the parade.
"She's a dedicated little girl," her mother said. "We're so proud of her."
Before leaving for New York, both Courtney and her mother said they were unsure of any details for the musical.
Courtney said she was excited to perform and looking forward to seeing her friends from camp and to experience the city.
"We're going to go see Shrek the Musical on Friday night when we get there, so I'm looking forward to that," she said.
The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade will start at 9 a.m. on NBC, and Courtney's performance is scheduled to air about 11:45 a.m.
"I don't think it's sunk in yet that she's going to be on national television," her mother said.
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