The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade returns on Thursday for its 96th year, and is expected to draw about three million spectators who will line the streets of Manhattan in hopes of catching a glimpse of the enormous balloons, marching bands, star performers and, of course, Santa Claus.
Typically around 6,500 people come together to work on the parade, which will follow a 2.5-mile route through New York City, starting on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and ending in Herald Square. Unlike last year, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade will not require vaccination for parade participants; instead, performers must take a Covid-19 test 24 hours before arriving.
Here’s what you need to know about this year’s festivities.
Who will broadcast the event?
The parade, which begins at 9 a.m., is being televised on NBC, Telemundo and the Peacock streaming service.
The “Today” show’s Hoda Kotb, Savannah Guthrie and Al Roker are hosting the parade, which will end at noon. But it is unclear whether Mr. Roker, who was recently hospitalized for a blood clot, according to his Instagram, will participate.
Where is the parade?
The festivities will kick off at West 77th Street and Central Park West, but there will be limited public viewing, or none at all, at that location.
Many fans arrive along the route hours earlier 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.
You can find a detailed map of the route here.
Who will be in the parade?
Performers in the parade will include Paula Abdul, Jimmy Fallon, the Roots and Gloria Estefan, who will appear with her daughter and grandson. As a finale, Mariah Carey will sing “All I Want for Christmas Is You” just before the parade concludes at the Macy’s store in Herald Square.
The Ballet Hispánico School of Dance will make a return, and a number of marching bands including the Bourbon County High School Marching Colonels and the Benedict College Marching Tiger Band of Distinction will perform.
There will also be 27 giant balloons — a dozen more than last year — as well as seven balloonicles and 31 floats. Some of the balloons will be as high as four-story buildings or as wide as six taxicabs. Grogu, also known as Baby Yoda, will return for its second year, accompanied by his hover pram.
In celebration of the World Cup this year, “Striker the U.S. Soccer Star” will make its debut. As tall as a two-story building and as wide as two taxicabs, the balloonicle consists of a soccer player executing a swift bicycle kick.
Bluey, a pup from the hit Australian show, and Stuart the Minion will also appear for the first time, drifting three-to-four storys high above the crowds. A fan favorite will return but will come adorned with a new accessory. Greg Heffley, a character from the popular series “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” appearing for the 13th time, will be crouched alongside a piece of moldy cheese.