Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in COVID-19

How the Annual Event Occurred During a Pandemic


A Thanksgiving tradition spanning just shy of 100 years is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The annual event is the world’s largest parade and has taken place in New York every Thanksgiving Day since 1924. The parade features Broadway acts, floats, dance numbers, performances by popular music artists, and most notably, giant character and novelty balloons. The parade made its television debut in 1953 and has been watched by millions every year since.

Due to COVID-19, traditions and events have had to make adaptations in order to keep people safe. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is no exception. Typically, the in-person audience is over 250,000 people. This year the parade will look different with no in-person audience for the first time. In addition to an absent in-person audience, according to NBC New York, “This year the procession will [also] forgo marching down the traditional 2.5 mile route in Manhattan in order to avoid gathering large crowds.” The parade is taking necessary precautions in order to keep the coronavirus cases from rising.

Although the parade will certainly look different, the event will still be filled with star studded performances. The lineup includes numbers from the Broadway shows Jagged Little Pill, Mean Girls, Hamilton, and more. While the performance will still be amazing, they will all be pre-recorded performances in efforts to not bring too many people together and be cautious of the coronavirus guidelines. Some celebrity appearances and performances include Dolly Parton, Pentatonix, the Muppets from Sesame Street, and Noah Cyrus. Even Stana Claus will make a special appearance all the way from the North Pole!

Macy’s and the parade production team have been strict about the coronavirus measures they are setting to ensure that the parade is as safe as possible. Susan Tercero is the event’s executive producer. “We still wanted to deliver what people expect on a Thanksgiving morning,” Tercero said. “But it’s going to look like a parade during Covid times. We’re going to have people in masks and we’re going to be socially distanced.” 

The Macy’s website serves as a great place to get more information on their coronavirus protocols and has an interactive feature where you can learn more about the famous balloons. Some balloons to look out for are the new Red Titan balloon from Ryan’s World and the new Boss Baby balloon, both are as wide as six taxi cabs. Balloons that everyone will be able to recognize include a 45 foot tall nutcracker, a Pillsbury Doughboy, a six story tall Ronald McDonald, and an Elf on the Shelf. Along with the 18 featured balloons are 35 amazing floats, including the fan favorite Sesame Street float. 

The parade has such great importance to so many families across the country, which is why Macy’s was determined to find a way to make the parade happen in this uncertain year. Stated on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade website, “Macy’s believes in celebration and the joy of marking milestone moments with family and friends.” The parade will air from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Central Time on NBC, Thanksgiving Day.