Let’s have a parade! The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, one of the nation’s most cherished holiday traditions, is getting ready to hit the streets of New York City.
“Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has been a New York City institution for more than nine decades, growing to become an icon of American pop culture as it annually marks the official start of the holiday season,” said Will Coss, Executive Producer of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. “For our 95th celebration, we are delighted to return this cherished holiday tradition closer to its original form as we march down the streets of New York City and into the homes of a nationwide audience.”
Whether you plan to enjoy the festivities from the hustle and bustle of the sidewalks or the cozy comfort of your couch, we’ve got the full scoop on what to watch for, when to look for it, and how!
WHAT IS THE MACY’S THANKSGIVING DAY PARADE?
For more than nine decades, the magic of the holiday season has kicked off with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. This year, the parade passes by for the 95th time, featuring its signature mix of whimsical elements and dazzling performances.
Established in 1924, the parade has been canceled only three times (1942, 1943 and 1944) since its inception. The event draws roughly 3.5 million spectators on the streets of New York City and over 50 million more who tune in nationwide. For so many Americans, watching the parade, from near or far, is just as much a Thanksgiving tradition as turkey and mashed potatoes.
IS THE PARADE BACK TO NORMAL IN 2021?
Yes! Following last year’s made for television celebration, the parade will be open to spectators as usual this year. To once again safely produce the annual Thanksgiving Day celebration, Macy’s partnered closely with the City and State of New York to create an event production plan that would ensure health and safety practices are aligned with current CDC guidelines, as well as local and state government protocols.
WHAT IS THE PARADE ROUTE?
The official parade route runs 2.5 miles, from 77th & Central Park West south to 34th Street-Herald Square.
For spectators in New York or those traveling to the city to see it live, the procession begins by marching down Central Park West to Columbus Circle, then turns onto Central Park South, then proceeds down 6th Avenue/Avenue of the Americas. At 34th Street, the parade makes its final turn west and end at 7th Avenue in front of Macy’s Herald Square.
WHAT ARE THE SAFETY MEASURES FOR THE PARADE IN 2021?
Following the most up-to-date health guidelines, the City of New York will manage public viewing locations and safety procedures along designated portions of the route.
There is no vaccination requirement for the general public to view this outdoor event.
For its participants and staff, Macy’s will put in place several health and safety procedures across all areas of the production.
2021 Health & Safety procedures include, but are not limited to the following:
All volunteer participants and staff will be vaccinated. Vaccine verification will be conducted at all back of house entry points. A few exceptions to this procedure may be made at the sole discretion of Macy’s and its medical consultant based on select extenuating circumstances. For those rare instances, Macy’s medical consultant will administer COVID-19 testing and clear the individual for Parade participation.
All participants and staff regardless of vaccination status will wear face coverings and additional protective equipment, as warranted by their role. As appropriate, exceptions may include singers, dancers and musicians performing down the route or for the national broadcast.
Macy’s will implement a reduction in the overall number of participants of between 10 to 20 percent (approximately 800 to 1,600 participants).
Social distancing practices will be in place at all interior/exterior Parade operations including costuming areas, seating and participant check-in.
WHO WILL PERFORM AT THE PARADE?
Joining the festivities for 2021 will be aespa, Jimmie Allen, Jon Batiste, Blue’s Clues & You! host Josh Dela Cruz and the former hosts of Blue’s Clues Steve Burns and Donovan Patton, Kristin Chenoweth, Darren Criss, Jordan Fisher, Foreigner, the cast of Peacock’s Girls5eva (Sara Bareilles, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Paula Pell, Busy Philipps), Andy Grammer, Mickey Guyton, Chris Lane, Miss America 2020 Camille Schrier, the cast and Muppets of Sesame Street, Nelly, Kim Petras, Kelly Rowland, Rob Thomas, Carrie Underwood, Tai Verdes, Zoe Wees, and Tauren Wells; with an extra special appearance by the one-and-only Santa Claus.
Broadway’s best shows will also perform including SIX, Moulin Rouge! The Musical and one of Broadway’s longest running hits, Wicked; along with a sneak preview of NBC’s Annie Live! In addition, the show-stopping Radio City Rockettes will bring their signature magic to Herald Square.
The CBS Broadcast will feature performances from the casts of Waitress and Chicago.
How to Watch the 2021 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade – Your Complete Guide!
WHEN IS THE PARADE?
The parade officially begins its march on November 25 at 9am and will conclude on at 12pm in all timezones on NBC. On CBS, broadcasts will air 9:00am-12:00pm live ET; 8:00-11:00am live CT; 7:00-10:00am live MT; and 1:00pm-4:00pm delayed PT.
HOW CAN YOU WATCH THE PARADE?
For those who won’t be able to make it to the streets of New York City to watch in person, both NBC and CBS will bring the spectacle to your television.
Viewers nationwide can catch all the action via the special broadcasts on NBC and Telemundo. For the first time, fans can also stream the broadcast on Peacock. The TODAY Show’s Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Al Roker will host the three-hour telecast for NBC and Peacock. The Spanish language simulcast on Telemundo will be hosted by Ana Jurka and Carlos Adyan, accompanied by Freddy Lomelí reporting live from Sixth Avenue, and feature a special appearance by Miss Universe Andrea Meza.
Entertainment Tonight’s Kevin Frazier and Keltie Knight will anchor on the CBS Television Network, which can also be streamed live on Paramount+.
CAN YOU WATCH AS THE PARADE BALLOONS ARE INFLATED?
Macy’s signature giant character balloons will be prepared for their Thanksgiving Day flights on Wednesday, November 24, on the Upper West Side. The Macy’s Balloon Inflation Celebration will be open to public viewing from 12:00 P.M. – 6:00 P.M., and will be limited to vaccinated guests and conducted with capacity limits to ensure social distancing practices are implemented.
Entry to Balloon Inflation can be accessed at 72nd Street and Columbus Avenue. Following the vaccine verification and security check, guests will be able to move through the checkpoint to view the balloons on 77th and 81st Streets.
Photos courtesy of Macy’s