It’s hard to think about Thanksgiving without the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade — the floats, marching bands, popular performers, Broadway performances, and, of course, that appearance by Santa. But with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic canceling most major public events and health and safety becoming a top priority, will the parade go on this year? The answer is yes — but it’s bound to look different.
Macy’s announced it will make changes to its popular New York City event due to the pandemic, but the show — in some way — will go on. “For more than 90 years, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has kicked off the holiday season with its signature entertainment spectacle, making it one of the world’s most beloved events,” the company said on its website.
So how exactly will the popular turkey day parade look? While it typically draws crowds of nearly 3.5 million people and 8,000 volunteers, Macy’s announced that the number of participants in this year’s parade will be reduced by roughly 75 percent. And instead of following the parade’s usual route, it will be held in just one area of the city and be prerecorded. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in recent press conference: “It will be a different kind of event. They’re reinventing the event for this moment in history, and you’ll be able to feel the spirit and the joy of that day on television, online. Not a live parade but something that will really give us that warmth and that great feeling we have on Thanksgiving Day.”
Macy’s said in a statement that, when it comes to the giant balloons we’re used to seeing in the parade, an “innovative, specially rigged” group of vehicles will fly them instead of a handlers. And for health and safety measures, all of the parade’s participants must practice social distancing guidelines and wear face coverings. “The safety of participants and spectators is Macy’s number one priority and this year’s 94th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade celebration will be produced solely as a television event allowing millions of New Yorkers and the nation to safely experience it from the comforts of home.” Macy’s had previously said they planned to reimagine its Thanksgiving Day Parade in a similar fashion to their 4th of July Fireworks, which had multiple smaller celebrations across New York City and was spread out across several days instead of just one.
Macy’s says it will release more details about the changes in the parade later this fall, but at least the coronavirus will not be putting a rain on this parade completely!