No public event is probably more synonymous with Thanksgiving than the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Since its first Santa waved Season’s Greetings to New York City onlookers in Herald Square back in 1924, the parade has unofficially marked the beginning of the holiday season for millions across the United States. Although it’s only a one-day event, it takes an entire year of preparation to ensure band, chorus and dance setlists are up to par, rehearsals are executed perfectly, and uniforms are camera-ready. Last year, over 8,000 volunteers alone participated in this massive spectacle!
This year marks the parade’s 89th anniversary, which draws a crowd of over 3.5 million spectators to view it live in Manhattan, while another 50 million viewers watch it from home. The parade kicks off at W. 77th Street and winds its way down Central Park West, through midtown Manhattan until 34th Street and Sixth Avenue–the location of Macy’s flagship store. The original parade route started up in Harlem and took the procession of bands, floats and balloons six miles south to Herald Square. Almost 3 miles of public viewing will be available–and if you’re in town, be sure to find your spot along the parade route early, because they go fast!
As always, it’s cold in New York during this time of the year, so if you’re coming from more temperate climates, remember to dress warmly. Pack a canteen of hot chocolate or coffee and a blanket for the wind gusts, and you’ll be all set to head out and stake a viewing spot along Central Park West or Sixth Avenue.
Bands from across the country will be roaring through the roads, with stops to show the parade judges and entertain the crowds. Countless balloons will dot the skies, including old faithfuls like Snoopy and Woodstock next to newbies like Angry Birds and Mario from Nintendo. And as always, popular and iconic star performers will sit atop some of the floats singing crowd favorites and holiday songs.
The parade is something that captivates audiences on screen every year. If you are spending a vacation in New York City during the Thanksgiving holidays, participating in this parade will be a lasting memory. Who knows, you may even have a few calls from friends and family who catch your smiling face on TV!