Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade returns this year with in-person spectators

Posted On Wed, September 8, 2021 By

Posted On Wed, September 8, 2021 By In Events, holidays

Photo courtesy of Macy’s, Inc.

After a television-only event last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, the iconic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will return this year with in-person spectators. Macy’s and the City of New York announced on Wednesday plans to celebrate the 95th annual holiday event with typical traditions, including the giant helium balloons, floats, and live performances, although there will be new health and safety protocols in place. The parade, which will also air nationwide on NBC, will take place on November 25 from 9 a.m. to noon.

“Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has been a New York City institution for more than nine decades, growing to become an icon of American pop culture as it annually marks the official start of the holiday season,” Will Coss, executive producer of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, said.

“For our 95th celebration, we are delighted to return this cherished holiday tradition closer to its original form as we march down the streets of New York City and into the homes of a nationwide audience.”

Last year, Macy’s hosted a “reimagined” parade, with participant capacity reduced by 75 percent, a two-day staging, and balloons flown by specially rigged anchor vehicles instead of the usual 80 to 100-person teams.

This year, the large team of balloon handlers will return to fly the classic character balloons. The marching band, cheer, and other group performances that were slated for the 2020 parade will perform this year instead.

The company is currently considering whether or not to bring back the Giant Balloon Inflation, where you can watch the balloons inflate the night before the parade on the Upper West Side. In 2019, about one million attended the spectacle, but the public viewing was canceled last year because of Covid.

New health procedures for this year’s event include requiring all volunteer participants and staff to be vaccinated, reducing the overall number of participants by between 10 and 20 percent, and implementing social distancing rules at costuming areas, seating, and check-in.

Details regarding the safety measures for the public viewing locations and the parade lineup will be announced in the coming weeks.

“We’re very hopeful, we’ve been working with Macy’s, that we can do this the full way, the right way, which I think will be a great moment for the comeback of the city,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said during a press briefing on Wednesday.

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