The annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will take place on Nov. 26 to celebrate the beginning of the holiday season, but it will look very different this year, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Here’s what you need to know about this year’s parade.
There Will Be Balloons And More
There will still be 4,200 costumes and 300 pounds of glitter and the parade will still ring in the holiday season with a mix of giant character helium balloons, floats, street performers, clowns and the first appearance of Santa Claus this holiday season — but it will not take place over 2.5 miles down the streets of Manhattan to Herald Square.
Instead, the television event will be put together over two days, with production and staging for parade elements taking place solely in and around the Herald Square area of Midtown Manhattan. The 94th annual parade will air nationwide on NBC on Thursday, Nov. 26, from 9 a.m. to noon, and is expected to attract more than 50 million viewers, organizers said.
Macy’s believes in celebration and the joy of marking milestone moments with family and friends,” said Susan Tercero, executive producer of the parade. The Macy’s Parade is our love letter and gift to the City of New York and the nation. Under the unique challenges of these unparalleled times, we felt it was important to continue this cherished holiday tradition that has been the opening act to the holiday season for generations of families.
In the interest of safety, the number of participants in the parade has been reduced by 75%, organizers say. And the signature giant character balloons will not be flown by the traditional 80 to100 handlers. Instead, specially-rigged anchor vehicles tested and approved by the city Department of Transportation and the New York City Police Department will do that.
No Marching Bands
Also, regional high school and marching bands will not perform this year. Instead, they will be deferred to the 2021 parade and local professional musicians will take their place.
Other changes that have allowed parade organizers to conform with health and safety guidelines include limiting participants to those over the age of 18, and requiring everyone involved in the event to practice social distancing and wear a face covering during production.
New York City is always proud to join Macy’s to ring in the holiday season with New Yorkers and viewers around the world,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. We’ve worked closely with the Macy’s team on a safe and creative plan this year, and we look forward to keeping this tradition going on Thanksgiving Day.