NEW YORK – Severed by the coronavirus pandemic last year, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade returned in full force on Thursday, despite precautions.
Balloons, floats, marching bands, clowns and performers – and of course, Santa Claus – began mowing the lawn again Thursday morning despite being two and a half kilometers (4 kilometers) from the streets of Manhattan. ), rather than being limited to just one block or sometimes pre-glued last year.
Spectators, closed in 2020, have re-lined the route. High school and college marching bands from around the country were invited back into the lineup; most of last year’s performers were local to cut down on travel. The giant balloons, which were strapped to vehicles last year, have received costume handles again.
“Last year was obviously iconic. It wasn’t all we wanted to see in a parade, but they kept going,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference. on Wednesday. “This year, the parade is back in full strength.”
“That would be a great sign of our rebirth,” he added.
The Thanksgiving Parade is the latest U.S. holiday event aimed at returning as vaccines, familiarity and sheer frustration have made officials and some of the public more comfortable with gatherings. large meeting in the context of the ongoing pandemic.
However, safety measures are still in place. Parade staff and volunteers had to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and wear masks, although some singers and performers were allowed to wear masks. There are no vaccination requirements for spectators, but Macy’s and the city encourage them to cover their faces. A common sight before the parade – the inflation of giant balloons – was restricted to vaccinated viewers only.
The Thanksgiving event also comes days after an SUV driver plow through a Christmas parade in suburban Milwaukee, killing six people and injuring more than 60. Authorities said the driver, who has been charged with attempted murder, briefly fled police after a domestic controversy.
De Blasio said Wednesday there is no specific, credible threat to the Thanksgiving parade, but the New York Police Department’s security measures will be extended, as usual.
“I have great confidence in what the NYPD has prepared to keep everyone safe,” he said.
Thousands of police officers were deployed to the parade route, from the streets to the rooftops. Cars were blocked from the parade route with garbage trucks full of sand, other heavy vehicles and about 360,000 pounds (163,000 kg) of concrete barricades.
NYPD Counterterrorism Director Martine Materasso said bomb detection dogs, bomb squad officers, heavy weapons squads, radiation and chemical sensors and more than 300 additional cameras were also deployed to the route. parade.
Inside the barricades, the parade featured about 8,000 participants, forty balloons of various sizes and two dozen floats.
New hot air ballooning giants to join the lineup include the title character from the Netflix series “Ada Twist, Scientist”; the Pokemon characters Pikachu and Eevee on a sleigh (Pikachu has appeared before, in a different form), and Grogu, aka “Baby Yoda,” from the TV show “The Mandalorian.” New floats are coming in from entities ranging from spice maker Heinz to NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service to the Louisiana Office of Tourism.
Entertainers and celebrities include Carrie Underwood, Jon Batiste, Nelly, Kelly Rowland, Miss America Camille Schrier, the band Foreigner and many more. Several casts of the Broadway musical and Radio City Rockettes will also be performing.