95th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Hits Streets in 2021

The Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade is a staple American tradition every year.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a staple American tradition every year.

“5, 4, 3, 2, 1…… Let’s Have A Parade!” On Thursday, November 25, 2021, the 95th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will be held. Unlike last year, when the parade was virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic, spectators will now be allowed to see the parade in person. Last year, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was filmed on a one-block street in front of Macy’s on 34th Street. It was filmed in the course of three days and could only be watched on TV. This year, things will be relatively back to normal though some COVID  safety precautions will be in place. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio stated, “Unlike last year, spectators are welcome to watch the parade curbside along its route through Manhattan. We are thrilled to welcome back in its full form the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, a world-renowned celebration that ushers in the magic of being in New York City during the holiday season. We applaud Macy’s work to creatively continue this beloved tradition last year and look forward to welcoming back Parade watchers to experience it safely, live and in person this November.” 

This year several precautions will be in place for parade participants and spectators. All volunteer participants and staff will be required to wear masks. In order to follow social distancing guidelines, the number of participants have been reduced by 20%.  Anyone attending the Balloon Inflation Celebration on November 24 will have to show proof of vaccination.     

The 95th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will include its iconic giant balloons, balloonicles, floats, marching bands, and musical performers. Some of the balloons that you will see this year include Ada Twist, Scientist (Netflix), Pikachu & Eevee, Ronald McDonald, Toni The Bandleader Bear, Astronaut Snoopy, Diary Of a Wimpy Kid, and the Pillsbury Doughboy. Do you ever wonder just how large these balloons are?   The Wimpy Kid Balloon for example, is  62 feet high, or as high as a 5 story building, 62 feet long, or the width of 10 bicycles, and 36 feet wide, or as wide as 6 taxi cabs! On the night before the parade you can go to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloon Inflation Celebration where you can watch the balloon handlers blow up the balloons. There are also smaller balloons called balloonicles that are part of this year’s parade. My favorites are the Baby Dinos (Sinclair Oil Co), who spin and tumble down the parade route. 

The floats and the marching bands are also a huge part of the parade.  Since 1968, the floats have been designed by artists at Macy’s Parade Studio in New Jersey. The floats can be up to 40 feet tall and 28 feet wide—but they fold down into a 12-foot-by-8-foot box to make the journey through the Lincoln Tunnel. Some of the floats you will see this year are The Birds Of a Feather (Peacock), Colossal Wave Of Wonder (Kalahari Resorts), Magic Meets the Sea (Disney Cruise Line) and the Sesame Street Float, complete with the Muppets and Sesame Street cast.  Interspersed among the floats are the parade’s grand marching bands. Each year, top marching bands from across the country are invited to represent their states in the annual parade. Band directors submit an application along with a video of a field marching performance to the Macy’s Band Selection Committee.  In the past, high school marching bands from Trumbull and Danbury, CT, have taken part in the parade. Always a favorite is the New York Police Department (NYPD) Marching Band. 

And let’s not forget the live performers that you can expect to see this year. One of the biggest attractions is country/pop singer Carrie Underwood.  Other performers include the rapper Nelly, country music star Chris Lane, singer/songwriter Andy Grammer, and the South Korean K-Pop Act, Aespa.  The events will be hosted by Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb, NBC Today co- hosts, and TV personality Al Roker. As always, Santa will make an appearance to bring on the start of the Christmas season. 

The parade begins with a ribbon cutting ceremony hosted by Al Roker. It  then follows a 2.5 mile route through Manhattan. Festivities begin at West 77th street and Canal Park West on the west side of Central Park at 9AM ET. The route continues down Central Park into the Theater District and ends at Macy’s Herald Square at around noon.  For a more detailed description of the route and best places for viewing, check out the official website at www.macys.com.  This website will also provide the most updated health and safety precautions.

 If you can’t go see the parade in person, you can watch it on NBC or Peacock from 9AM to noon in all time zones. Whether you see it in person or on TV, I am sure you will feel the excitement of this beloved New York City tradition that has been going on since 1924. Have a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving!