NYC Thanksgiving Parade 2020 Details

The holiday season in New York City begins with Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Because of the COVID19 pandemic in 2020 and the necessity of not gathering in crowds, Macy’s has designed a different, yet nonetheless festive event for this year’s parade.

Here’s is the statement from Macy’s website: 

The 94th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade® will be modified to safely bring magic to more than 50 million viewers nationwide on Thanksgiving Day. This year’s celebration will shift to a television-only experience while maintaining the spectacle and wonder of this cherished tradition.

On Thursday, November 26, from 9AM to noon on NBC, 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!

Charlie Brown Float

The City of New York partnered with Macy’s in July to rethink the July 4th Fireworks Celebration. Because people were still sheltering in place and to avoid the massive crowds that gather to watch the spectacular, Macy’s agreed to have fireworks released from several more barges in the Hudson River located near a more diverse selection of neighborhoods so that people throughout the city could view the fireworks without having to travel far or gather in large groups.

In keeping with that spirit and commitment to Gotham, NYC and Macy’s teemed up again and have rethought every aspect of the Thanksgiving Parade to ensure that the combination of elements that create the magic each year will still be represented in an event that will be broadcast and streamed on November 26 but not attended by in-person parade goers.

Here are the changes Macy’s has announced so far:

  • Reducing the overall number of participants by approximately 75%, and splitting the remaining participants over two days
  • All participants will be appropriately socially distanced during performances and be required to wear face coverings and additional personal protective equipment depending on their role

  • Shifting to a television-broadcast-only production with staging for Parade elements focused solely in/ around the Herald Square area of Midtown Manhattan

  • The traditional 2.5-mile Parade route will not be utilized this year

  • No participant in the Parade will be under 18 years of age

  • Previously selected regional High School and College Marching Bands performances will be deferred to the 2021 Macy’s Parade, with locally based professional marching and musical ensembles taking musical duties in the lineup

  • Macy’s traditional Giant Balloon Inflation public event on Wednesday will not take place

  • Macy’s signature giant character balloons will be flown without the traditional 80-100 handlers and instead employ an innovative, specially rigged anchor vehicle framework of five specialty vehicles tested and approved by the NYCDOT and NYPD

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has only been cancelled 3 times throughout its 94-year history. In 1942, 1943, and 1944, the parade was cancelled due to helium shortages during World War II.

For more history of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, visit their website which gives the nearly 100-year history of the parade.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade History Website
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade History Website
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade History Website

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