With the 90th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade almost upon us, millions are preparing to watch the spectacle from the comfort of their homes and the chilly streets of Manhattan! The parade's origins are humble, with an event in 1924 featuring costumed Macy's employees, live entertainment, and the iconic first appearance of Santa Claus. A beloved yearly tradition that is enjoyed by Americans across the country, the only instances where a Thanksgiving came and went without a parade were 1942-1944 due to the need to conserve resources for World War II.
The action begins at 9 AM on Thursday, November 24th at the starting point on West 77th Street and Central Park West. The parade will travel alongside Central Park, make a turn at Columbus Circle, and then take Central Park South to 6th Avenue. From there, it's a straight run to 34th Street, where the parade will make one final turn to end at Macy's Herald Square.
A massive lineup of entertainment is scheduled to participate in the 2.5-mile march to Macy's flagship store. 16 gigantic balloons, 27 novelty balloons/ballonicles/trycaloons, 26 floats, 16 marching bands and performance groups, 1,100 cheerleaders, 1,000+ clowns, and dozens of live performers and stars will be featured throughout the event.
New Character Balloons For 2016
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid®
- Peanuts' Charlie Brown
- Dreamworks' Trolls.
Returning character favorites include Hello Kitty®, Pillsbury Doughboy®, Pikachu™, SpongeBob SquarePants, The Elf on The Shelf®, Skylanders® Eruptor, Thomas the Tank Engine®, Red Mighty Morphin Power Ranger, Paddington™, Ronald McDonald®, Angry Birds' Red, Dino™, and Ice Age's Scrat & His Acorn.
Plenty of novelty balloons will also be spotted on the route, with the official list naming Harold the Policeman, Harold the Fireman, Charlie, Kit & C.J. Holiday Elves, Happy Hippo, Arrtle the Pirate, Wiggleworm, Happy Dragon, Trixie the Dog, Felix the Cat, and Macy's Red Believe and Yellow Stars. Plus, the Aflac Duck, Nutcracker & Mouse King, and Tough Guy & Bulldog Trycaloon ballonicles will provide an additional splash of creativity!
New Floats For 2016
- The Aloha Spirit by King’s Hawaiian®
- Building A Better World by Girl Scouts of the USA
- Deck the Halls by Balsam Hill®
- Fun House by Krazy Glue®
Floats making return appearances to the parade lineup include 1-2-3 Sesame Street; At the Ball Game (Cracker Jack®); Big Apple (New York Daily News); Big City Cheer! (Spirit of America Productions); China’s Chengdu – Home of the Giant Panda (Sino-American Friendship Association); The Colonel’s Road Trip to NYC (Kentucky Fried Chicken); The Cranberry Cooperative (Ocean Spray®); Discover Adventure! (Build-A-Bear®); Free to Play (Sprout®); Frozen Fall Fun (Discover®); Girl-Powered Spinning Machine (GoldieBlox®); Heartwarming Holiday Countdown (Hallmark Channel); It’s All Rock & Roll (Gibson Brands®); Mount Rushmore’s American Pride (South Dakota Department of Tourism); On The Roll Again (Homewood Suites by Hilton®); Santa’s Sleigh; Snoopy’s Doghouse (Peanuts Worldwide); Stirrin’ Up Sweet Sensations (Domino® Sugar); Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Nickelodeon); Tom Turkey; Treasure Hunt (Pirate’s Booty®); and Winter Wonderland In Central Park (Delta Air Lines).
The list of live performers that will be showcased during the event is equally as star-packed thanks to appearances by Tony Bennett, Kelsea Ballerini, Fitz & the Tantrums, Aloe Blacc, Easton Corbin, Christopher Jackson, Maddie & Tae, and a number of NHL legends and U.S. Olympic Gold Medalists, among countless others. Plus, with performance ensembles from West Virginia to Hawaii, and displays by the Kilgore Rangerettes and National Dance Institute stars, the sheer variety of performers guarantees enjoyment for all ages.
Additional Fun Facts About The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
- The parade has been televised every year since 1952 and has been broadcast in color since 1960
- The first iteration of the parade in 1924 featured live animals from the Central Park Zoo
- Viewer statistics for the parade regularly top 40 million each year
- All three hours of the parade have been televised since 1969, before which only portions were shown
- Each full-sized character balloon is handled by 90 people
NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill has also announced a series of additional security measures to ensure that New Yorkers remain safe while enjoying this year's parade. In addition to traditional police officers, a series of specialized teams will also be present at the event to provide families with the peace of mind to fully enjoy the holiday spectacle.
Looking to watch the parade live instead of on TV? Check out the LIRR schedules before departing. Plus, don't forget to watch "The National Dog Show Presented by Purina®," which will air on NBC directly upon the conclusion of the parade!
[Source for information & pictures: Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and Macy's Parade Press]