Macy’s will hold its annual Thanksgiving Day Parade — but only for TV

Nov 25, 2020, 7:47 AM
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 28:  93rd Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 28, 2019 ...
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 28: 93rd Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 28, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)
(Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

    (CNN) — If you live in New York City or had hoped to travel there for the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday, you’re out of luck. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, there will not be the usual millions lining the Manhattan parade route to watch the giant balloons, festive floats and performers.

But take heart: The parade itself will go on. It’s just going to be staged as a TV-only event in 2020. New Yorkers and visitors will have to enjoy the parade the way the rest of the country has traditionally done it — from the comfort and safety of home.

KSLTV will air the 2020 parade on Thursday beginning at 7 am. Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Al Roker will host.


Parade changes

In light of this year’s unprecedented circumstances, Macy’s partnered with the City of New York to safely produce this year’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

“While it will may look different in execution, we invite everyone to tune in and experience our incredible celebration on television featuring our signature character balloons, dazzling animated floats, whimsical clowns, world-class performances, and of course the arrival of Santa Claus, who will once again herald the start of the holiday season,” said Susan Tercero, the executive producer of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, in a statement.

The treasured tradition, which many consider a standard part of the holiday, can easily be enjoyed from afar, though Parade aficionados will detect some notable differences.

The 2.5-mile route in Manhattan, for example, has been shortened, with the focus on the last section of the annual march.

Viewers can still expect signature balloons such as Ronald McDonald and Sinclair’s Dino, floats and performances, though there will be far fewer participants this year.

And the finale is intact also; Santa Claus’s appearance will be captured on NBC’s national television special. Santa will arrive in front of Macy’s famed flagship store on 34th Street to kick off the holiday season as is tradition.

Prioritizing safety

The day before the parade is almost as exciting a tradition for some as the parade itself. But the Macy’s annual giant balloon Inflation celebration will not take place on Wednesday this year.

The Macy’s Parade site explains that efforts to reduce the number of people typically used to fly the huge balloons — some 80-100 people in past years — has resulted in an innovative, specially rigged anchor vehicle framework of five specialty vehicles. Both NYPD and New York City Department of Transportation have tested and approved the special vehicle.

Participants will be required to wear masks and other personal protective equipment. In addition, all will be from the tri-state area in accordance with US state restrictions and quarantine rules.

The participants, 18 years and above, will perform Parade duties with consideration to social distancing measures over a three-day period. All will be tested for Covid-19 and will undergo wellness checks as well.

Macy’s says it is working with a nationally renowned medical expert to produce the event.

‘Let’s celebrate together — at home’

Earlier this month, the 2020 lineup was announced. Newcomers include The Boss Baby balloon, Red Titan from “Ryan’s World” balloon, Big Turkey Spectacular float and Lifetime’s Christmas in Time Square float.

Macy’s giant balloon veterans include Astronaut Snoopy, elves Hugg, Bjorn, Jojo and Fleck and Pokemon ambassador Pikachu.

The parade’s oldest float still in use, Rocking Horse, is back again this year. Rocking Horse, handmade by Manny Bass, long-time Parade designer, will be sporting a makeover this Thanksgiving.

Balloons first appeared in 1927, replacing live animals from the Central Park Zoo. Last year, balloons were nearly grounded due to windy weather conditions.

Musical guests Bebe Rexha, Brett Young, CNCO and Karol G will ride the floats and perform. The legendary Dolly Parton, a Covid-19 vaccine sponsor, is joining this year with The Cracker Barrel float.

The broadcast, which last year brought in roughly 22 million viewers for NBC, will also feature several pre-taped Broadway shows, which have been closed since March, including from “Hamilton,” “Ain’t Too Proud,” “Jagged Little Pill” and “Mean Girls.”

In addition to the giant balloons, floats (some as tall as five stories) and musical guests, the Parade is host to clowns, balloncicles and street performers, all of which can be enjoyed during the three-hour TV special.

Viewers eager to keep the party going can follow the #MacysParade hashtag to see favorite moments from the show.

™ & © 2020 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

Today’s Top Stories


A screenshot of a facebook post made to the parents of Macie Hill....
Mark Jones

Father of girl who died in Kaysville parade is thankful for those who helped

An 8-year-old girl died Monday in an accident during the Kaysville Fourth of July Parade. Her father is thankful for all who assisted his daughter.
1 day ago
The community built a small memorial in front of Macie Hill's family home. Hill passed away after a...
Amie Schaeffer

GoFundMe started to remember 8-year-old girl who died in Kaysville parade

The Kaysville City Fourth of July parade turned tragic when Macie Hill was hit by a vehicle. She reportedly died from her injuries.
1 day ago
The new monuments at This is the place heritage park....
Mark Jackson

This is the Place Heritage Park to unveil monuments for early Black pioneers

This is the Place Heritage Park will unveil a monument dedicated to early Black pioneers on July 22, just in time for Pioneer Day.
5 days ago
Utah's Morning News Host Amanda Dickson with her husband, Aaron....
Amanda Dickson

Opinion: To honor Aaron, a father’s love for his children

This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom.
19 days ago
The south temple tower is pictured....
Mark Jackson

Downtown South Temple Tower gets first-ever office tower to residential transformation

The South Temple Tower will become a multifamily tower and will feature studios and one-and-two bedroom units.
19 days ago
Utah Foster Care puts on Chalk Art Festival in The Gateway....
Waverly Golden

Utah Foster Care to hold Chalk Art Festival

Over 100 artists will compete in the Chalk Art Festival, presented by Utah Foster Care, over the weekend.
20 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
Macy’s will hold its annual Thanksgiving Day Parade — but only for TV