From Central Park west to Pioneer Square, there are more people on the streets than ever before.
Thousands of marchers, hundreds of clowns, dozens of balloons and floats—and of course Santa Claus—marked the comeback of America’s latest holiday event, as vaccines, familiarity, and sheer frustration made officials and some members of the public feel angry. Big party in the ongoing pandemic.
Nevertheless, security measures continue. Parade staff and volunteers must be vaccinated against COVID-19 and wear masks, but some singers and performers are allowed to take off their masks. There is no vaccination requirement for the audience, but Macy’s and the city government encourage them to cover their faces.
The parade begins at 9 am in the Upper West Side, followed by all the sights and sounds that this unique parade has brought for decades.
The parade has 15 giant balloons, 28 floats, 36 inflatable toys, 9 performance groups and many celebrities, including Jon Baptiste, Christine Chenoves, foreigners, and Kelly Rowland , Rob Thomas, Kelly Underwood and Santa Claus.
Some of these balloons are four stories high and as wide as taxis in New York City.
Ten marching bands and 800 enthusiastic clowns from all over the country also participated in the event.
They happily followed the 2.5-mile parade route—just what New Yorkers needed after the TV-only parade that was shortened to one block by the pandemic last year.
On the street today, one of the people who witnessed the news himself: the producer Andy Sawas and his wife Aransas, they have close ties with Snoopy and act as balloon custodians.
This is the first time Andy has participated in the parade, and Aransas has participated in the second parade. Is it everything Andy thinks?
“Everything—everything, and more!” he said. “My goodness, this is like a bag of potato chips on Thanksgiving! It’s incredible!”
The others on the parade route were also very excited.
“Everyone is wearing a mask, I was vaccinated, and we feel safe,” a woman told us. “And it’s great to start working again. It’s great to see the city return again.”
On Wednesday, before the Thanksgiving flight, the balloon was blown up, and the annual inflatable event was held from noon to 6 pm-only for vaccinated guests.
36 novel and traditional inflatable toys have been added to this year’s edition.
New balloon categories include Ada Twist, Netflix’s Scientist; Funko pop music! Inspired by Grogu (aka Baby Yoda) from the Star Wars series “The Mandalorian”; Ronald McDonald’s from McDonald’s USA; and Pikachu and Ibrahimovic from Pokémon International.
Related | Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade: Street closures, balloons inflated, performers and more
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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