For the first time in its 94-year history, the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will be a television-only presentation, but still have the giant character helium balloons, floats, street performers, clowns and — naturally — Santa Claus.
There won’t be the thousands and thousands of spectators lining the streets for this year’s parade, but according to New York City 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.”
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“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,” said Susan Tercero, executive producer of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. “While it will certainly look different in execution, this year’s Macy’s Parade celebration will once again serve its historical purpose — to bring joy into the hearts of millions across the nation.”
To make the parade safe, Macy’s this year has decided to:
- Forgo the traditional 2.5-mile parade route from the Upper West Side to the Herald Square flagship.
- Shift to a television-broadcast-only production and stage the entertainment for TV around the Herald Square area of Midtown Manhattan.
- Reduce the overall number of participants by about 75 percent, and split the remaining participants over two days.
- Require all participants to socially distance during performances and wear face coverings and additional personal protective equipment depending on their role.
- Restrict participants to those 18 or older.
- Previously selected regional high school and college marching bands performances will be deferred to the 2021 Macy’s Parade, and substituted by locally based professional marching and musical ensembles.
- Forgo the traditional giant balloon inflation event on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.
- Forgo the traditional 80 to 100 handlers for the balloons and instead employ an innovative, specially rigged anchor vehicle framework of five specialty vehicles tested and approved by the NYCDOT and NYPD.
The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was held in 1924 with two blocks of Macy’s colleagues dressed in whimsical clown outfits, playing instruments and adorning floats. The 94th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will air nationwide on NBC-TV, Nov. 26, from 9 a.m. to noon, in all time zones.