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The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Will Return Fully In Person This Year

Claire Leaden Claire Leaden

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Will Return Fully In Person This Year

We sadly had to say goodbye to some annual NYC traditions last year due to COVID-19, but luckily most are now returning.

And that includes the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! Though the parade did happen last year, it was very pared down and mostly virtual. The traditional parade route was vastly shortened to only a block, and people could only view it from home — no longer as spectators on the streets of NYC. It was also taped ahead of time and not aired LIVE as usual.

This year, though, it will return mostly to its former glory. For its 95th anniversary, Macy’s announced it will welcome back public viewing along its parade route (for which specific details will be announced in November) with its signature mix of giant character helium balloons, fantastic floats, marching bands, performance groups, celebrities, clowns and of course, Santa Claus.

Macy’s worked with the state and city to make sure proper COVID-19 safety protocols were taken, so there are many new rules this year.

They include:


  • All volunteer participants and staff will be vaccinated. Vaccine verification will be conducted at all back of house entry points.
  • All participants and staff regardless of vaccination status will wear face coverings and additional protective equipment, as warranted by their role.
  • Macy’s will implement a reduction in the overall number of participants of between 10 to 20 percent (approximately 800 to 1,600 participants).
  • Social distancing practices will be in place at all interior/exterior Parade operations including costuming areas, seating and participant check-in.

Some elements that weren’t possible last year are set to return, including: marching band, cheer and specialty group performances, the signature giant character balloons will once again be flown with 80-100 handlers, and Macy’s Balloon Inflation event is currently under consideration (where New Yorkers can watch all the balloons being inflated the day before the parade).

The exact public viewing locations, maps, and entry guidelines and restrictions will be announced in November, but you can stay up-to-date at macys.com/social/parade.

The 95th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will air nationwide on NBC-TV, Thursday, November 25, 2021 from 9 a.m. to noon, in all time zones.

Another holiday classic that’s making a comeback? The Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular!