Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade to be stationary due to COVID-19

The event will be taped over two days, with 75% fewer participants.

Macy's Prepares Floats For Thanksgiving Day Parade
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 21: Onlookers watch and take photographs as Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade staff inflate balloons in Manhattan's Upper West Side on November 21, 2012 in New York City. The 86th annual event is the second oldest Thanksgiving Day parade in the U.S. (Photo by Ramin Talaie/Getty Images)

For the first time in its more than 90-year history, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will be a “television only special presentation.” 

The retail giant announced on Monday that the change in the traditional 2.5-mile parade route is an effort to “avoid gathering millions of spectators in person.” A majority of the show will be live but some segments will be prerecorded, as “part of our plan to socially distance our participants.”

The parade will be taped over two days, with 75% fewer participants. Masks and social distancing will be enforced, reports. Local bands will perform instead of regional high-school and college marching bands.  All parade participants will be 18 years of age or older.

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Additionally, “Macy’s signature giant character balloons will be flown without the traditional 80-100 handlers and instead employ an innovative, specially rigged anchor vehicle framework of five specialty vehicles tested and approved by the NYCDOT and NYPD,” the release states. 

“It will not be the same parade we’re used to. It will be a different kind of event,” New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio said during a Monday press conference. “They’re reinventing the event for this moment in history.”

“While it will certainly look different in execution, this year’s Macy’s Parade celebration will once again serve its historical purpose – to bring joy into the hearts of millions across the nation,” said Susan Tercero, executive producer of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

“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,” said Tercero.

“New York City is always proud to join Macy’s to ring in the holiday season with New Yorkers and viewers around the world. We’ve worked closely with the Macy’s team on a safe and creative plan this year, and we look forward to keeping this tradition going on Thanksgiving Day,” said Bill de Blasio in the announcement.

The 94th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will air on NBC-TV, Thursday, November 26, 2020 from 9:00 a.m. to Noon, in all time zones.

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