By AARON KRAUSE
Everyone loves a parade.
Therefore, they’ll be happy to know that, despite the pandemic, the beloved Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City will occur this year.
“Macy’s believes in celebration and the joy of marking milestone moments with family and friends,” officials wrote on the event’s website. “For nearly 100 years, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has been synonymous with the official start of the holiday season in the United States. Under the unique challenges of these unparalleled times, we felt it was important to continue this cherished American tradition that has been the opening act to the holiday season for generations of families.”
However, due to COVID-19, this year’s version will be different. According to the event’s website, Macy’s is following federal protocols. And they’ve partnered with New York City and State of New York officials “to create an innovative plan that would continue this treasured tradition.”
But parade participants will not march down the traditional 2.5-mile route. Rather, organizers have reimagined the annual event over the course of several days as a television-0nly event leading up to the live Thanksgiving Day broadcast. On Thanksgiving, Macy’s will showcase the celebration’s signature balloons, floats, and performances. Macy’s will also herald the arrival of Santa Claus.
So, what exactly will be different this year? For starters, crowds won’t congregate to watch the parade. And the event will take place in the one-block stretch in front of Macy’s flagship store on 34th Street. The parade runs from 9 a.m. to noon. Watch it on NBC.
“In partnership with local and state government, the Parade was modified to avoid gathering crowds,” organizers said. “The only way to view the celebration is on television.”
Also, organizers will test participants, staff, and performers for COVID-19. And they’ll conduct wellness checks on them before the event begins. Further, paraders will practice social distancing and wear masks. And organizers have reduced by about 88 percent the overall number of participants. Meanwhile, Macy’s will split the remaining participants over a three-day production period.
While Macy’s signature giant character balloons will fly, their usual 80-100 handlers will not fly them. Instead, Macy’s is using a different method. Specifically, they’re using an “innovative, specially-rigged anchor vehicle framework of five specialty vehicles tested and approved by the NYC Department of Transportation and the NYPD.”
The size of this year’s parade may be smaller, but performers will be present to delight viewers. From Broadway to Circus performers, TV, music stars, and animated wonders, entertainers will entertain.
So, although this year’s event will be different, the show will go on.
For more information, visit https://www.macys.com/social/parade.