The 95th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday will be notably different from last year’s limited celebration, which was reduced to just one block, with spectators discouraged from coming out.
Around 6,500 people will come together to work on this year’s parade, which will follow a 2.5-mile route through New York City, starting on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and ending in Midtown. Everyone who participates 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 parade?
The parade will be televised starting at 9 a.m. on NBC, Telemundo and the Peacock streaming service.
The “Today” show’s Al Roker, Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie will host the show, which will end at noon.
Where is the parade?
The parade will start at 9 a.m. at West 77th Street and Central Park West, but there will be limited public viewing, or none at all, at that location.
Many fans will arrive along the route as early as 6 a.m. to get spots with unobstructed views of the performers. The best places for viewing the parade include Central Park West from West 75th to West 61st Streets, and Sixth Avenue from West 59th to West 38th Streets.
Performers in the parade will include Jon Batiste, Kelly Rowland, Nelly, Mickey Guyton and Carrie Underwood.
Some of the younger participants will 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 12 will not be allowed to participate in the parade itself this year but will be allowed as spectators.)
There will also be 15 giant balloons and 28 floats. Some of the balloons will be as high as four-story buildings or as wide as six taxicabs.
A balloon resembling Grogu — a character from “The Mandalorian” who is also known as Baby Yoda — will fly above the parade Thursday, the first time a “Star Wars” balloon will be part of the festivities.
Ada from the Netflix show “Ada Twist, Scientist”will also make her debut in balloon form this year. The pen tucked behind her ear is the length of 27 real pens lined up.
Pokémon is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a new balloon of Pikachu and his friend Eevee sitting on a sleigh — the blades of which are about the same length as a semitrailer truck.
While McDonald’s has had a Ronald McDonald balloon in the parade since 1987, this year it will debut a new design. The balloon of Ronald McDonald will hold a giant red heart.
“Ronald is sharing his heart with us at a time when we all need some extra love,” the Macy’s website reads.