Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade returning to NYC streets with spectators

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A Charlie Brown balloon moves along Central Park West during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

NEW YORK — After a reimagined parade in 2020, the iconic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will once again march through New York City this November as spectators look on in awe, the company and city announced Wednesday.

Just as it has traditionally for decades, the massive procession of classic floats, giant character balloons, marching bands, celebrities, as well as music and dance performers, will return to the streets of Manhattan for the parade’s 95th year.

As the country grappled with the COVID pandemic through 2020, lat year’s Thanksgiving spectacle was scaled down and pre-taped, without the throngs of crowds cheering from the sidelines.

It was the first time in more than 90 years that the parade had to forego its traditional route and format, which New Yorkers and families across the country held dear for generations.

Now, as the city reopens amid slow-but-sure vaccination rates, the nostalgic celebration will make a grand return.

The parade will kick off live on the morning of Thursday, Nov. 25, and air live on television on NBC starting at 9 a.m., Macy’s said.

“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.”

To safely produce the annual celebration, Macy’s worked closely with the city and state to create an event production plan with health and safety practices that align with current CDC guidelines and local protocols, the company said.

The city will manage public viewing locations and safety procedures along designated portions of the route. Details on how spectators will be able to access these areas will be announced in November.

Macy’s has put in place several health and safety guidelines for all participants and staff, including the following:

  • All volunteers and staff will be vaccinated, with few exceptions being made at the sole discretion of Macy’s and its medical consultant. For those rare instances, COVID testing will be administered.
  • All participants and staff, regardless of vaccination status, will wear face coverings and additional protective equipment, depending on their role.
  • Macy’s will implement a reduction in overall number of participants of between 10 to 20%, or approximately 800 to 1,600 participants.
  • Social distancing practices will be in place at all all interior and exterior parade operations.

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