They’re not quitting this tradition cold turkey.
The 94th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade may not have been canceled by the coronavirus, but there are some radical alterations to help adhere to social-distancing mandates for 2020. The biggest change: The bash will be tailored exclusively to television audiences.
Despite the new format, organizers promise an equally grand spectacle.
“Thanksgiving looks a lot different for a lot of people but one thing you can count on is that you’ll see balloons, you’ll see floats, you’ll see Santa,” Susan Tercero, the executive producer of the parade, told the Post.
As a service to revelers, we’ve compiled a complete guide to how the ceremony is going down in the time of corona.
When is this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade?
This year’s parade will air on NBC on Nov. 26 from 9 a.m. to noon Eastern.
How can I watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade and is it available to stream?
In addition to the NBC broadcast, viewers can also catch a livestream of the celebration on YouTube.com/Verizon, on Verizon’s Twitter account and other Verizon Media properties. The online coverage will be hosted by Mario Lopez.
What’s different about the 2020 parade?
In an effort to mitigate the number of gobble-day gawkers (which have totaled 3 million during previous events), the parade will not travel the traditional 2 ½-mile route around the city. Instead, the event will take place around Herald Square in Manhattan, where the Macy’s flagship department store is located. Even with the smaller parade route, city officials are discouraging New Yorkers from congregating in the 34th Street area to watch the festivities live, Today reported.
The parade itself will be smaller as well, with organizers reducing the number of participants by a whopping 88%, Variety reported. Those who do attend will only hail from the New York tri-state area and will be donning masks and maintaining social distance at all times.
“Safety is our No. 1 priority, and we can’t do this without people in the city of New York and the state really supporting us and guiding us along the way,” said Tercero of the Macy’s parade makeover.
Fans shouldn’t feel too deflated. Keeping with tradition, Macy’s will be debuting two new balloons: the titular character from “Boss Baby” and the Red Titan from the popular YouTube series “Ryan’s World.” These will be anchored by tractor trailers in lieu of the 100 people that usually operate each balloon.
Who are the notable participants?
As in years past, the Big Apple’s musical theater scene will be heavily featured in the Macy’s parade, with pretaped performances from the casts of “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations,” “Hamilton,” “Jagged Little Pill” and “Mean Girls.” Here’s hoping that it will provide a much-needed spotlight on Broadway, which has been decimated financially during lockdown and will remain closed through May 30, 2021.
There will also be musical appearances by Patti LaBelle, Keke Palmer, Dolly Parton, Jordin Sparks, the Radio City Rockettes and dozens more.
Meanwhile, the high school and college bands that were invited to play at this year’s event will instead perform in 2021. The NYPD Police Band, the West Point Band, the FDNY bagpipe band and other local professional marching bands will take their place.
This year’s Turkey Day parade will also feature performers from several New York parades that were canceled because of the pandemic, including the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the West Indian Day Parade, the Puerto Rican Day Parade, the Pride Parade, the Mermaid Parade and others. T-day is all about leftovers, right?
And, if that wasn’t enough reason to be thankful this year, Santa Claus will once again be closing the show.
The three-hour telecast will be hosted by NBC’s “Today” anchors Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and, of course, Al Roker, who recently returned to the show after undergoing surgery for prostate cancer. Jimmy Fallon and the Roots are slated to open the show.
“I think in a year where we’ve had a lot of disappointments, this year’s parade should give everybody a little bit of breath, and a little bit of lightness and levity to the holiday season,” Tercero told the Post.