As with so many things in 2020, the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is going to look a little different this year.
In September, the department store announced that the much-loved event “will be modified” so that it can move forward safely amid the coronavirus pandemic. For the first time in its nearly 100-year history (this November marks the 94th annual parade), the parade will be TV-only. “This year’s celebration will shift to a television-only experience while maintaining the spectacle and wonder of this cherished tradition,” reads a release sharing the news.
So you won’t be able to watch the balloons float by in person in NYC this year, but if tuning in to the parade is a time-honored holiday tradition for your family, worry not. Here’s what you need to know.
The broadcast will still take place from 9 a.m. to noon on NBC.
In addition to the network broadcast, viewers can livestream the parade on YouTube.com/Verizon or on Verizon’s Twitter account.
The parade will be TV-only.
While there are usually miles of onlookers watching the parade in-person, COVID-19 prevents large gatherings. Instead, the parade route has been shortened, centered around Herald Square in Manhattan, where Macy’s flagship store is located. There, a small parade will occur for television cameras only. Even the number of people in the parade itself has been cut, with organizers reducing participants by 88%. To accommodate these smaller numbers, the program itself will be a combination of live television and pre-taped clips.
But there will still be balloons (and Santa Claus).
Yes, there are changes to the program this year, but it won’t look entirely foreign. In the statement announcing the news, Macy’s confirmed that balloons, floats, performers, and Santa Claus would all still be part of the festivities. “We invite you to watch the Parade’s signature mix of giant character balloons, floats, street performers, clowns and the heralding of the holiday season with the one and only Santa Claus!” reads the post.
There will also be no shortage of performances in this year’s broadcast. Patti LaBelle, Bebe Rexha, Dolly Parton, and the Radio City Rockettes are just some of the entertainers appearing in the parade. Additionally, there will be Broadway performances from the casts of “Hamilton,” “Ain’t Too Proud,” “Jagged Little Pill,” and “Mean Girls.”
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