The coronavirus has impacted a number of annual events and institutions since being declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020. Countless festivals, races, conventions, concerts, and other holiday celebrations have been put on hold or canceled indefinitely. People who are wondering if the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is still happening this year are in for good news.
The annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which has taken place in New York City every year since 1924, will go on—as a “reimagined” event.
The city announced on Sept. 14 that the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is happening and will “shift to a television-only special presentation.” This will include giant balloons of our favorite characters and colorful floats manned by costumed performers. The “one and only” Santa Claus will also be making his annual appearance.
Instead of the traditional 2.5-mile route, the parade will be shortened to reduce the number of participants by 75%. Performers will be socially distanced and required to wear face coverings, and the dozens of balloon handlers will be replaced by specialty vehicles.
This year’s parade will also forego high school and college band performances, and groups that had been previously selected will now be deferred to the 2021 parade—assuming we’ve managed to reduce our COVID-19 infections by then. Student groups will be replaced by professional marching bands and musical ensembles. All parade participants must be 18 years or older.
“It will not be the same parade we’re used to,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement. “They are re-inventing 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,” Susan Tercero, executive producer of the parade, said. Tercero added that Macy’s “felt it was important to continue this cherished holiday tradition that has been the opening act to the holiday season for generations of families.”
This year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will take place on Thursday, Nov. 26, from 9am to 12pm EST, airing live on NBC.