Thursday’s 95th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will be significantly different from last year’s limited celebration, which was reduced to just one block, discouraging spectators from getting outside.
About 6,500 people will gather this year to work on the parade, which will follow a 4-mile route through New York City, starting on Manhattan’s Upper West Side and ending in Midtown. Everyone who takes part in the parade must be vaccinated, but there is no vaccination requirement for spectators.
Here’s what you need to know about this year’s festivities.
How can I watch the pageant?
The parade will be broadcast on NBC, Telemundo and the streaming service Peacock from 9am.
Al Roker, Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie of the “Today” show will host the show, which will end at noon.
Where’s the pageant?
The parade will begin at 9:00 AM at West 77th Street and Central Park West, but there will be limited or no audience viewing at that location.
Many fans will arrive along the route as early as 6am to secure seats with unobstructed views of the performers. The best places to watch the parade are Central Park West from West 75th to West 61st Streets and Sixth Avenue from West 59th to West 38th Streets.
A detailed map of the route can be found here.
Who will be in the parade?
Performers in the parade include Jon Batiste, Kelly Rowland, Nelly, Mickey Guyton and Carrie Underwood.
Some of the younger participants include Ballet Hispánico’s School of Dance, the Young People’s Chorus of New York City, and a group of competitive rope jumpers. Ten high school and college marching bands – including the Hampton University Marching Force – will also fill the streets. (Children under the age of 12 are not allowed to participate in the parade itself this year, but are allowed to participate as spectators.)
There will also be 15 giant balloons and 28 floats. Some balloons will be as high as four-story buildings or as wide as six taxicabs.
A balloon resembling Grogu — a character from “The Mandalorian” also known as Baby Yoda — will soar above the parade Thursday, the first time a “Star Wars” balloon has been part of the festivities.
Ada from the Netflix show “Ada Twist, Scientist” is also making its debut in balloon form this year. The pen behind her ear is as long as 27 real pens in a row.
Pokémon celebrates its 25th anniversary with a new balloon of Pikachu and his friend Eevee sitting on a sled — the blades of which are about the same length as a semi-trailer truck.
While McDonald’s has had a Ronald McDonald balloon in the parade since 1987, it’s debuting a new design this year. Ronald McDonald’s balloon will contain a giant red heart.
“Ronald shares his heart with us at a time when we all need a little extra love,” the Macy’s website reads.