The annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is yet another victim of the coronavirus pandemic. It is being scaled back dramatically as a virtual parade.
You’ll still be able to enjoy giant balloons, top entertainers, and the appearance by Santa Claus, but on TV only. The actual parade down Central Park West and Sixth Avenue, ending at Herald Square, isn’t happening.
Macy’s says the parade is being “safely modified” for 50 million viewers – which is the only information you’ll find on the parade website.
The parade has been a Thanksgiving Day tradition for nearly 100 years, and it will still be broadcast nationally by NBC. But it won’t have 2 million spectators lining the streets to watch – literally – the parade go marching by.
Also cancelled is the popular and equally traditional Balloonfest inflation the night before, on the streets around the American Museum of Natural History, where you and the kids could watch the giant balloons get filled with helium and pop into life, one arm or leg at a time.
Macy’s also re-invented the annual and traditional Fourth of July Fireworks this year, also because of Covid-19. Instead of several massive barges along in the East River delivering choreographed pyrothechnics, there were smaller ones in each borough, strung together into a televised display.
And you can also expect the traditional Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree to be scaled back and different this Pandemic year.
But I digress. Back to the Thanksgiving Day parade.
Macy’s just announced that the 2020 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will be a television-only special presentation without the crowds or traditional parade route, and drastically reduced in size. .
“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, in a statement.
“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 execute the event safely, the number of participants will be reduced by about 75%.
Instead of marching along the usual 2.5 mile parade route, performances will be pre-taped over two days in and around the flagship Macy’s Herald Square store.
All participants will be over the age of 18 and required to practice social distancing and wear face coverings during performances.
The parade’s signature massive balloons, which typically require 80 to 100 handlers, will be flown this year using “an innovative, specially rigged anchor vehicle framework of five specialty vehicles,” the statement read.
In other words, the balloons will be anchored atop trucks parked on the street, probably close to Macy’s Herald Square. There will be no human handlers holding them down.
More than 50 million viewers nationwide normally tune in on Thanksgiving Day, according to Macy’s, making it the largest holiday broadcast in the United States.
As of right now, there are plenty of parade-related details on the Macy’s site, but no information regarding specific performers, floats, or bands has been released yet.
Of course, NYCOTC will keep you updated. When we know, you’ll know.
The parade coverage begins at 9am on Thanksgiving morning, Thursday, November 26, on NBC, broadcast through noon.
It is normally hosted by Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, and Al Roker, who break down the bands, floats, and performances.
Want to know more about the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade?