If you and your family have the holiday tradition of watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, you might notice some major changes this year. Macy’s announced its annual parade featuring giant balloons, marching bands, and live musical performances will be reworked to keep people safe from COVID-19.
“It will not be the same parade we’re used to, it will be a different kind of event,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said during his daily briefing Monday. “They’re reinventing the event for this moment in history and you will be able to feel the spirit and the joy of that day on television, online, not a live parade, but something that will really give us that warmth and that great feeling we have on Thanksgiving Day.”
Macy’s shared the news online through various social media networks including Twitter.
The #MacysParade will go on! We won't be marching, but we're reimagining it into a televised-only spectacle where all your fave balloons, floats & Santa Claus *safely* make their way to you. Tune in to @NBC 9AM Thanksgiving Day & check here for updates: https://t.co/1Bo9XZMmsM pic.twitter.com/n1XgeNdRKu
— Macy's (@Macys) September 14, 2020
While people won’t line the streets of New York City to watch the parade, Macy’s assured fans that they will still get to see their favorite elements of the annual spectacle, including the giant balloons and Santa Claus.
Susan Tercero, the executive producer of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, said organizers are working hard to make sure the parade serves its historical purpose of bringing joy to the nation.
“The Macy’s parade is our love letter and gift to the City of New York and the nation,” Tercero said in a statement. “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.”
The first Macy’s Thanksgiving parade took place in 1924. The event took a hiatus during World War II but was first televised in 1948 on NBC (although it also made an appearance in the 1947 movie “Miracle on 34th Street”). The retailer says this is the first time in 90 years that the parade is being modified for safety reasons.
(AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)
Some of the changes Macy’s plans to implement this year include:
- Each signature balloon will use a specially rigged anchor vehicle framework of five specialty vehicles tested and approved by the New York City Department of Transportation and the New York Police Department, rather than having the traditional 80-100 human handlers
- The overall number of participants will be reduced by approximately 75%; the remaining participants will be split over two days
- All participants will be appropriately socially distanced during performances and be required to wear face coverings and additional personal protective equipment depending on their role
- The event will shift to a television-broadcast-only production with staging for parade elements focused solely in and around the Herald Square area of Midtown Manhattan
- The traditional 2.5-mile parade route won’t be used
- No participant in the parade will be under 18 years of age
- Previously selected regional high school and college marching bands will be deferred to the 2021 parade; for 2020, local bands and musical ensembles join the lineup
The production will still be aired on NBC from 9 a.m. to noon on Thanksgiving morning, Thursday, November 26. Will you tune in?