The Macy’s Thanksgiving day parade in New York City is a national tradition, whether you watch it on television or have the fortune to see in person, the beautiful balloons, historic floats, stunning performances, and of course the one and only big guy in red – Santa Claus are iconic spectacles that welcome the holidays in the grandest of fashions. The ambiance and energy that come not only from the figures in the parade but from the energy in the crowd are utterly awe-inspiring. Last year, however, some of that ambiance was muted due to the pandemic. The streets normally full of wide-eyed spectators were barren and the parade was broadcast solely to a televised audience. This year, however, on what will mark the parade’s 95th year it is back and it is poised to be bigger and better than ever.
If you live in the New York City area or are lucky enough to be visiting in time to attend the momentous event, the festivities actually begin the day before the Thanksgiving parade on Wednesday, November 24th. The balloon inflation will begin at Noon and conclude at 6 P.M. Spectators can head to the corner of West 72nd Street and Columbus Avenue to enter into a queue so that they can watch the balloons that will be featured in the parade getting inflated. This is a great opportunity to get up close in personal with one of the parade’s main draws.
This year 15 gigantic character balloons are being inflated, six of which are newcomers this year. Additionally, 36 legacy balloons will also be inflated in preparation for the Thanksgiving parade. After waiting in the queue spectators will be granted access to walk along the route which wraps around the Museum of Natural History and ends at 81st Street. Some of the most noteworthy new additions are Funko Pop! inspired Grogu (aka Baby Yoda) and Pikachu & Eevee, which are both viewable near the end of the route on 81st Street. In speaking about the floats Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Executive Producer Will Coss said “From size, scale, spectacle to animation points, there are self-driving units, it’s a real dynamic year, really excited about it.”
The fun does not stop with the balloons, the Thanksgiving parade will also feature a plethora of celebrity performers. Sara Bareilles, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Paula Pell, and Busy Philipps will be joined by Nelly and Jordan Fisher. John Batiste will have an alligator-themed float to himself as he celebrates Louisiana’s music, food, and culture with his performance. Other recognizable names include Carrie Underwood, Rob Thomas, and Kristin Chenoweth. Muppets from Sesame Street and three hosts (past and present) from Blues Clues will also be making appearances. All performances will be done, as is the tradition, when the floats reach the center of Herald Square right in front of Macy’s 34th Street location.
This year’s Thanksgiving parade is primed to be not only a memorable one for the ages but a symbol of revival, renewal, and in a sense homecoming as society finally begins to pull itself back from the dismal throes of the pandemic. Tis’ the season of togetherness once again.