2020 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade: What's different this year? Here's how and where to watch it
To reduce the crowd amid the pandemic, the parade will not travel the traditional 2½-mile route around the city of Manhattan like in earlier years. Read more on the new changes in the event
As the festive season has just started off with Thanksgiving week upon us, many of us may have been gearing up for Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. The annual parade has become synonymous with holiday and enjoyment, is one of the oldest parades in America. The parade attracts thousands of visitors who witness an amazing display of towering balloons, decorative floats, acrobats, performers, and more as they make their way down the 2.5-mile stretch of Midtown.
However, this year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there are certain limitations at the parade and one might not be able to physically witness its charm. Absent this year will be the usual millions lining the Manhattan parade route. But there is still a lot to rejoice over as the 94th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is not canceled amid the doleful health crisis. “Thanksgiving looks a lot different for a lot of people but one thing you can count on is that you’ll see balloons, you’ll see floats, you’ll see Santa,” Susan Tercero, the executive producer of the parade, told The Post.
The parade itself will go on. It's just going to be staged as a TV-only event in 2020.
Here we have compiled what the parade will offer this time in the pandemic. Macy's partnered with the City of New York to safely produce this year's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
What’s different about the 2020 parade?
To reduce the crowd, the parade will not travel the traditional 2½-mile route around the city of Manhattan like in earlier years. Instead, the gala event will be held near Herald Square in Manhattan with a much smaller parade route. City officials are also discouraging New Yorkers from congregating in the 34th Street area to watch the festivities live amid Covid-19 safety concerns.
Reports suggest that the organizers have reduced the number of participants by a whopping 88%. Those who are allowed to attend have to hail from the New York tri-state area. They have to compulsorily wear masks and maintain social distance at all times.“Safety is our No. 1 priority, and we can’t do this without people in the city of New York and the state really supporting us and guiding us along the way,” Tercero said of the Macy’s parade makeover.
The participants, 18 years and above, will perform Parade duties with consideration to social distancing measures over a three-day period. All will be tested for Covid-19 and will undergo wellness checks as well.
However, despite the limitations, the fun factor at the parade has not been affected. Keeping the balloon tradition alive, Macy’s will be debuting two new balloons: the titular character from ‘Boss Baby’ and the Red Titan from the popular YouTube series ‘Ryan’s World’. The lovable characters that will join the parade will have old favorites too like Snoopy, Pikachu, Ronald McDonald, the Pillsbury Doughboy, SpongeBob, and more. These giant balloons will be anchored by tractor-trailers in contrast to 100 people who usually operated such balloons earlier.
Who are the key participants?
Like the past years, the Big Apple’s musical theater scene will dominate in this year’s parade too like in the past. Besides that, there will be pre-taped performances from the casts of ’Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations’, ‘Hamilton’, ‘Jagged Little Pill’ and ‘Mean Girls’. The parade that will be televised on NBC will also see musical performances from notable stars like Patti LaBelle, Keke Palmer, Dolly Parton, Jordin Sparks, the Radio City Rockettes, and many more. Musical guests Bebe Rexha, Brett Young, CNCO and Karol G will ride the floats and perform. The legendary Parton, a Covid-19 vaccine sponsor, is joining this year with The Cracker Barrel float.
When and where the event will happen?
Santa Claus's appearance will be captured on NBC's national television special. Santa will arrive in front of Macy's famed flagship store on 34th Street to kick off the holiday season as is tradition on November 26. It will be held at 9 am ET to noon.
How to watch it?
For those who cannot physically attend the event, the parade will be televised nationally on NBC on Thursday, at 9 am local time like in past years. Besides the NBC broadcast, viewers can catch a live stream of the event on YouTube.com/Verizon, on Verizon’s Twitter account, and other Verizon Media properties. One can also follow the #MacysParade hashtag on Twitter for pictures.