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Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 2021: A long route and the crowds are back


(CNN) – Last year, the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was a meaningless event. Because of the pandemic, it’s a TV-only event. There were no boisterous crowds along the boulevards of Manhattan. There is no long parade route.

What is the difference between the Covid-19 vaccine and 12 months.

The 2021 spectacle will return to last year’s more familiar parade. Visitors and residents will have 2.5 miles of public viewing as balloons, floats and bands travel from the Upper West Side to Macy’s flagship store at Herald Square.

Longtime New York City resident Lisa Fischer is simply excited about the 95th annual parade, which begins at 9 a.m. ET Thursday.

“Obviously, I had to see it on TV” last year, she said CNN Travel. “It’s still fun and brings back great memories.” But Fischer says it wouldn’t be the same experience without the energy of the streets and conventional traditions.

Fischer has a lot of valuable, first-hand experience with the parade.

When her two children were young, Fischer used to take them to see giant balloons inflated. They would then catch the parade on TV the next day in their pajamas at home.

Around 2004 they had a particularly memorable time watching up close.

“We had to be in the stands right in front of Macy’s,” Fischer said. “I was lucky enough to get the ticket and be right in front of where they broadcast it. It was really fun.”

Here’s what those on the ground and watching on TV can expect:

2021 Macy’s Parade roadmap

A hot air balloon of Goku hovers at the 93rd annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 28, 2019. The 2021 event will offer a longer parade route.

A hot air balloon of Goku hovers at the 93rd annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 28, 2019. The 2021 event will offer a longer parade route.

James Devaney / Getty Images

The 2020 parade was held in a small area around the Macy’s flagship store – just enough room to make the stage for the broadcast.

Early birds began arriving around 6 a.m. Thursday in Central Park West from West 75th to West 61st. This stretch is rated for great views. The parade will then turn into the Columbus Circle – again no public viewing at the circle.

After a relatively short ride down Central Park South, the parade will head south on 6th Avenue for the long drive to Midtown Manhattan. Macy’s touts views from West 59th to West 38th streets.

The parade makes its final turn on 34th Street and ends in front of the flagship store (also no spectators here).

Weather forecast

Forecasts say Santa won't have any weather woes for his arrival at the parade in 2021.

Forecasts say Santa won’t have any weather woes for his arrival at the parade in 2021.

James Devaney / Getty Images

According to CNN meteorologist Judson Jones, nothing in the computer models predicts that the wind will come close to the threshold.

So “let the balloons fly,” says Jones.

Not only that, but the weather will also be beautiful, Jones said. It can be a bit cold in the early hours, the years over 30 to under 40 years old. But by the time Santa arrives at the Herald Square, it will be mostly sunny with temperatures around 50 degrees, if not a bit warmer, he said.

How to watch from home

Can’t be present in person?

NBC is official broadcaster for the parade and coverage begins at 9 a.m. in all US time zones. The parade hosts were Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Al Roker of the “Today” show.

The Spanish simulation on Telemundo will be hosted by Ana Jurka and Carlos Adyan. NBC is also offering streaming on its new Peacock Premium platform.

CBS will also cover the parade from 9 a.m. to noon. And it will stream on the Paramount Plus Premium platform.

You can also catch it if you have TV streaming services like FuboTV, Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV, and YouTube TV.

Marching band

The Hampton University Parade is expected to appear in the 2021 parade.

The Hampton University Parade is expected to appear in the 2021 parade.

Photos Bennett Raglin / Getty

It’s hard to beat the thrill a good marching band gives you. And Macy’s has drawn some of the best work from all over America. Some band from cavalcade in 2021:

– Hampton University Marching Force: This high-energy Virginia band played at the 2020 New Year’s Day Parade and Celebration in Rome and their drums were during the 2019 Rose Parade Tournament.

– NYPD Marching Band: Made up of musically-minded police officers, this is a band that is loved by audiences.

– The Ann Richards Marching Stars: From central Texas, the band is the only all-female competitive marching band in the country, according to Macy’s.

Centerville High School Jazz Band: Hailing from Ohio, the band is known for its traditional and contemporary treatments of big band jazz. They were prepared to perform “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”

Performers

Darren Criss attends the 74th Annual Tony Awards at the Winter Garden Theater on September 26, 2021, in New York City.  And he'll be one of the featured performers at the Macy's Parade.

Darren Criss attends the 74th Annual Tony Awards at the Winter Garden Theater on September 26, 2021, in New York City. And he’ll be one of the featured performers at the Macy’s Parade.

Image of Jamie McCarthy / Getty

The parade will also showcase singers, musicians and artists from a variety of genres. Some stars Expected appearances include:

– Korean K-pop quartet Aespa
– Country singer Chris Lane
– “Glee” star and Broadway actor Darren Criss
– Classical foreign rock band
– New Orleans singer, composer and jazz pianist Jon Batiste
– Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth of the famous “Wicked”
– Breakthrough country singer Mickey Guyton
– Rapper St. Louis Nelly

Balloon

Macy's unveils new giant character balloons for the annual 95th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  This is Toni, Macy's very own leader bear.

Macy’s unveils new giant character balloons for the annual 95th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. This is Toni, Macy’s very own leader bear.

Photo Eugene Gologursky / Getty

The giant balloons that bring a sense of awe to the eyes with their enormous size will return. A small sample About what you will see:

– Ada Twist, Scientist: From the Netflix series, she’s launching a hot air balloon this year that’s the height of a four-story building.
– Reindeer tiptoe, also launched hot air balloon
– Astronaut Snoopy, Peanuts character’s ninth balloon iteration
– The Pillsbury Doughboy is 46 feet tall
– Smokey Bear, longest-running PSA star in US history, according to Macy’s

Another beloved tradition – the public watching the balloons being prepared – made a comeback this year. It is held on Wednesdays on the Upper West Side.

Floating Floats

Entertainer Donny Osmond stands on a turkey float during the 1981 parade.

Entertainer Donny Osmond stands on a turkey float during the 1981 parade.

AP

– Gator Celebration from the Louisiana Office of Tourism
– 1-2-3 Sesame Street Float
– Macy’s Singing Christmas Tree, featuring over 100 Macy’s workers
– And of course, Santa’s Sleigh

Safe and secure

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said "The NYPD... planned security very carefully around the parade."

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the “NYPD … planned very carefully for security around the parade.”

Despite having to be fully vaccinated to attend Wednesday afternoon’s hot air balloon event, No requirement for Covid-19 vaccination show the public the parade from the sidewalk on Thursday morning. People are encouraged to wear masks and dress appropriately for the late November weather in New York City.

Spectators are asked to avoid carrying large bags, umbrellas, backpacks and strollers. The public entering the street may be subject to security screening.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday that there is no “specific and credible threat” against the city’s Thanksgiving Day parade. However, NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said his officers will be on high alert.

“We never rest on our laurels and we will have thousands of officers to make sure you don’t have to think about security,” he said.

De Blasio was asked by reporters on Monday whether Wisconsin Christmas Parade Incident killing six people after an SUV plowed into a crowd will affect New York City’s security plan.

“It’s tragic and appalling what happened in Wisconsin, but, I’ll tell you, the NYPD for years and years has been planning the security very carefully around the parade,” the mayor said. .

Sweet prediction

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has evolved into a holiday tradition since it began as a Christmas parade in 1924.

Lisa Fischer said she plans to get up early on Thursday, have a cup of coffee, go on a date with a few friends and see if she can find a spot on the sidewalk to watch.

Fischer has an enviable backup plan if the action on the ground doesn’t go her way.

Her apartment on 60th Street and Amsterdam Avenue near Lincoln Center gives her sweeping views of the Columbus Roundabout, where the parade will turn.

She also has a great personal simulcast situation. Her TV is set up so she can watch the broadcast and watch the parade pass through her apartment window at the same time.

“I’m excited to see it in person this year. It’s not Thanksgiving without the parade. It’s the kick-off of the holiday season,” she said.

“New York City feels a little lighter for the first time in 18 months. … Lots of Christmas decorations are already in place. Looks like there are more tourists here. The atmosphere is not feel heavy. I feel more optimistic.”

Top image courtesy of Macy’s. CNN’s Evan Simko-Bednarski and Mirna Alsharif contributed to this report

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