NEW YORK - The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade will be live and in-person to kick off the 2021 holiday season. Back to its pre-pandemic form, it will feature 15 giant character balloons, 28 floats, 36 novelty and heritage inflatables, more than 800 clowns, 10 marching bands and nine performance groups, and, of course, Santa Claus.
After drastically scaling down the previous year's parade due to the pandemic, the time-honored tradition returns on Thursday, Nov. 25 with new balloon giants joining the line-up including Ada Twist, Scientist; Grogu (so-called Baby Yoda from the "The Mandalorian"); and the Pokémon characters Pikachu and Eevee.
Broadway will be represented by the casts of "Six," "Moulin Rouge! The Musical" and "Wicked." The Rockettes will be there, as will the cast of the upcoming NBC live production of "Annie."
The parade steps off at 9 a.m. and ends at Noon with an appearance from Santa.
"For our 95th celebration, Macy’s has created a spectacle to remember featuring a dazzling array of high-flying balloons, animated floats and incredible performers. We can’t wait to help New York City and the nation kick-off the holiday season with the return of this cherished tradition," Will Coss, executive producer of the parade, said in a statement.
There will be new floats led by the cast of "Girls5eva" — Sara Bareilles, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Paula Pell and Busy Philipps — Nelly and Jordan Fisher, while Jon Batiste will be on an alligator-themed float celebrating Louisiana's music, food and culture.
Other celebrities on hand include Carrie Underwood, Jimmie Allen, Kelly Rowland, Rob Thomas, Kristin Chenoweth, Darren Criss, Foreigner, Andy Grammer, Mickey Guyton, Chris Lane, Miss America Camille Schrier, Muppets from "Sesame Street" and the three past and current hosts of "Blue’s Clues" — Steve Burns, Donovan Patton and Josh Dela Cruz.
Some of the returning balloons will be Astronaut Snoopy, 'The Boss Baby," "Diary of a Wimpy Kid," Chase from "Paw Patrol," the Pillsbury Doughboy, Red Titan from "Ryan’s World," Papa Smurf from "The Smurfs," Sonic the Hedgehog and SpongeBob SquarePants.
COVID safety protocols will be in place for participants and spectators. Their implementation will be managed by the City of New York.
2021 Health & Safety procedures include, but are not limited to the following:
- All volunteer participants and staff will be vaccinated. Vaccine verification will be conducted at all back of house entry points. A few exceptions to this procedure may be made at the sole discretion of Macy’s and its medical consultant based on select extenuating circumstances. For those rare instances, Macy’s medical consultant will administer COVID-19 testing and clear the individual for Parade participation.
- All participants and staff regardless of vaccination status will wear face coverings and additional protective equipment, as warranted by their role. As appropriate, exceptions may include singers, dancers and musicians performing down the route or for the national broadcast.
- Macy’s will implement a reduction in the overall number of participants of between 10 to 20 percent (approximately 800 to 1,600 participants).
- Social distancing practices will be in place at all interior/exterior parade operations including costuming areas, seating and participant check-in.
Anyone interested in attending is encouraged to check macys.com/parade for the latest information.
Visitors this year will once again be allowed to see the balloons inflated the day before the parade as long as they show proof of vaccination. Children under the age of 12 may be accompanied by a vaccinated adult.
Last year, the parade during the television-only event traveled along the usual 2.5-mile route down Broadway into Herald Square with big balloons anchored to vehicles instead of guided by people. Local New York bands and performers provided live music.
"We are thrilled to welcome back in its full form the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, a world-renowned celebration that ushers in the magic of being in New York City during the holiday season," said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
With the Associated Press