Many people consider watching Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade to be as much a part of Thanksgiving as eating turkey. Indeed, watching the parade, which begins at 9 a.m. Eastern on Thanksgiving, has been a holiday tradition for millions of people for close to 100 years.
“For more than 9 decades, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has served to bring joy to millions, who gather with friends and family to experience this one-of-a-kind holiday celebration along the streets of New York City and in homes nationwide,” Will Coss, executive producer of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, said in a statement. “For our 95th celebration, Macy’s has created a spectacle to remember featuring a dazzling array of high-flying balloons, animated floats, and incredible performers.”
There’s a reason Coss mentioned the iconic balloons: Many people think the balloons are the best part of the parade. If you’re among those people, here’s some good news. This year’s parade is scheduled to include 15 giant character balloons and 36 novelty and heritage inflatables.
Let’s take a look at the balloons making their debut at the parade this year.
Ada Twist, Scientist By Netflix
Ada, obviously, is a scientist. This balloon version of Ada is “as big as her giant-sized curiosity!” Macy’s explains.
The Ada balloon is 41 feet long, 29 feet wide, and 51 feet tall.
Fun Fact: If you lined up 27 real pens, they would equal the length of the pen behind balloon Ada’s ear.
Funko Pop! Inspired Grogu
Grogu, from the series Star Wars The Mandalorian, is commonly called “Baby Yoda.”
This giant balloon, inspired by the Child Funko Pop! product, is sure to be a fan favorite.
The Grogu balloon is 29 feet long, 37 feet wide, and 41 feet tall.
Fun Fact: There are 37 feet between Grogu’s ears. That space is just about a standard telephone pole’s height.
Ronald McDonald By McDonald’s USA
Ronald McDonald balloons have been in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parades since 1987, but this is a new design. In this version, “Ronald is sharing his heart with us at a time when we all need some extra love and smiles and inspiring spectators to, ‘see a smile, share a smile,’” Macy’s explains.
The Ronald McDonald balloon is 68 feet long, 31 feet wide, and 40 feet tall.
Fun Fact: “It took 2,629 hours to complete the Ronald balloon at Macy’s Studio — and more than 50 gallons of paint,” Macy’s explains.
Pikachu & Eevee By The Pokémon International Company
It’s been 25 years since a Pokémon balloon made its debut at the parade. This year, in honor of the 25th anniversary, a new balloon will take part in the parade. “A celebration is always better with friends, so this design features not only Pikachu but Eevee too!” Macy’s explains.
The Pikachu & Eevee balloon is 48 feet long, 23 feet wide, and 34 feet tall.
Fun Fact: Pikachu & Eevee are riding on a sleigh. Each of the sleigh’s blades, or runners, is about the same length as a semi-trailer truck.
Tiptoe By Macy’s
Tiptoe, the star of Macy’s holiday campaign, isn’t a giant balloon. Instead, Tiptoe is a balloon puppet. Puppeteers make her head bob and legs move as she “prances through the streets of New York City encouraging spectators to believe in themselves,” Macy’s explains.
Fun Fact: Tiptoe will be the first balloon puppet in the parade.
Toni The Bandleader Bear By Macy’s
When you see Toni, Macy’s bandleader bear, keep an eye out for the iconic Macy’s star —there are several on his uniform. Plus, you can even see one corner of a star in Toni’s eye.
The Toni the Bandleader balloon is 28 feet long, 24 feet wide, and 39 feet tall.
Fun Fact: Toni the Bandleader was named for Macy’s Parade pioneer Tony Sarg, the long-time artistic director. Sarg, a noted puppeteer, introduced the enormous balloons in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1927.
How To Watch The Parade
Most people enjoy watching Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV. You’ll be able to find the parade on NBC and Telemundo from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Thanksgiving.
New for this year’s parade, you’ll also be able to stream it on Peacock.
Secondly, if you live in New York City or have plans to be there for Thanksgiving, you can also watch the parade in person again this year.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will begin at 9 a.m. from its traditional starting point at 77th Street and Central Park West. From there, the procession will march down its signature 2.5-mile route.
If you want to watch the parade in person, you can find information about the parade route and the best places to watch the parade here.
If you love the balloons in Macy’s parade and you’ll be in New York City the day before Thanksgiving, you can also watch the balloons being inflated outside the Museum of Natural History from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there are some important restrictions you’ll need to keep in mind.
First, everyone over the age of 12 must be vaccinated for COVID-19 to watch the balloon inflation. Children who are under 12 may attend if they are with a fully vaccinated adult.
Secondly, to gain access to the event, everyone must be able to present proof of vaccination along with a photo ID with a name that matches the name on the proof of vaccination documentation.
You can learn more about balloon inflation and the guidelines for attending the event here.
For more news on Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, be sure to read: