Is Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 2020 Canceled?

93rd Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 28, 2019 in New York City.

Getty 93rd Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 28, 2019 in New York City.

Is Macy’s annual Thanksgiving Day parade canceled this year? No.  However, it will look a little different this year. While there will be no parade down Broadway, there will still be floats and giant balloons towed by trucks as opposed to handlers. Macy’s and NBC tell Variety that the overall number of participants has been reduced by 88%.

Some performances will be taped while others will be live. The event will be broadcast on NBC from 9 a.m. ET – 12 p.m. ET.

In an email to Newsday, Sgt. Edward Riley, a spokesman for NYPD, shared, “This year’s Macy Thanksgiving Day Parade is not open to spectators. The bulk of the program will be pretaped with no audience. Officers will be present in areas where filming will occur to prevent large groups from gathering.”

The performances that will be live include the all-female samba drum line Danza Fiesta, representing the National Puerto Rican Day Parade. There will also be performances by Pan in Motion, Sesame Flyers, and Kaisokah Moko Jumbies, according to Newsday.

Other celebrity appearances include Lauren Alaina, Sofia Carson, Tori Kelly, Patti LaBelle, Matthew Morrison, Leslie Odom Jr., Keke Palmer, Dolly Parton, Pentatonix, Bebe Rexha and Jordin Sparks. The cast of “Hamilton” and “Mean Girls” will also perform.

Another change is that while the parade is normally a 2.5-mile route down Broadway, this year’s performance will stay outside of Macy’s flagship store on 34th street.

The Parade Is Planned 18 Months Out

In an interview with Variety, executive producer Susan Tercero shared, “We have to plan this thing about 18 months out, because we do things like select the bands, we design and build our floats, our balloons and everything… As you can imagine, when we got to March of this past year, we’d already had a parade plan.”

Tercero adds, “Every year we have two parades: There’s the one for New Yorkers who line the parade along the streets, and we knew that couldn’t happen, we couldn’t march from uptown to downtown,” Tercero said. “The other parade is the one that happens on television for 50 million people. We knew that was going to be our safest way of moving forward.”

This year’s three-hour telecast will be produced by Brad Lachman. The show will be opened by Jimmy Fallon and the Roots.

Variety states that no one under 18 will be included in the parade due to Covid concerns. “We realized that schools weren’t sure where they were going to be [in fall],” Tercero said. “Most schools were closed. They did not know if they were even going to have a marching band program in the fall. We had to make that decision quickly for them because there was a lot of unknown in their world.”

History of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Macy’s, which holds the event, has been at its location on Broadway and 34th street since 1902. The Parade that we know today as the Thanksgiving Day Parade was initially a Christmas Parade that kicked off in 1924.

According to CNN, the parade was first broadcast on the radio in 1932; it was then televised in 1946.

The balloons that the parade is famous for have been around since 1927– one of the first was a 60-foot dinosaur, CNN states.

While the fun that has lasted us generations will not necessarily be viewed by spectators live this year, it will still be accessible to those celebrating at home.

The Macy’s Day 2020 Thanksgiving Parade will air live, Thursday, November 26, from 9 a.m. to noon in all timezones on NBC.

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