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09/08/2021

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in full return — live and in person

Marianne Wilson
Editor-in-Chief
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Macy’s annual Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City will once again be live with in-person spectators.

The giant balloons and spectators will be back — with plenty of COVID precautions in place.

The general public will once again be able to line the streets and sidewalks of New York City to watch the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which will kickoff on Thursday, Nov. 25, at 9 a.m. The parade was dramatically scaled back last year amid the pandemic into a television-only event. 

The parade, which is celebrating its 95th anniversary this year, will once feature its signature mix of giant character helium balloons flown with 80-100 handlers, fantastic floats, marching bands, performance groups, celebrities and clowns. The marching band, cheer and specialty group performances that were originally slated to appear in the 2020 parade will perform this year instead.  All volunteer participants and staff will be vaccinated and all participants will be masked (with exceptions for the performers).

“For our 95th celebration, we are delighted to return this cherished holiday tradition closer to its original form as we march down the streets of New York City and into the homes of a nationwide audience,” said Will Coss, executive producer of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Macy’s said it partnered closely with the City and State of New York to create an event production plan that would ensure health and safety practices are aligned with current CDC guidelines, as well as local and state government protocols. The company said it has pulled best practices from its recent Fourth of July fireworks event, which was live this year after being scaled back in 2020.

[Read More: Macy’s fireworks will be live in ‘epic celebration’]

The City of New York will manage public viewing locations and safety procedures along designated portions of the route with access details to be announced.

“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. “We applaud Macy’s work to creatively continue this beloved tradition last year and look forward to welcoming back Parade watchers to experience it safely, live and in person this November.”

For its participants and staff, Macy’s will put in place several health and safety procedures across all areas of the production. These include 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% (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.

Macy’s said that details on the exact public viewing locations including viewing maps, entry guidelines and restrictions will be announced in November.

The 95th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will air nationwide on NBC-TV, Thursday, Nov. 25, 2021 from 9 a.m. to noon, in all time zones.