If you’re like millions of other people, you’ll be watching at least some of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade — either on TV or in person — on Thanksgiving. After all, watching the parade has been a holiday tradition for many people for close to 100 years.
“For more than nine 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.
When the parade steps off in New York City at 9 a.m. on Thanksgiving, November 25, there will be a lot to see and watch. For instance, the parade is scheduled to include 15 giant character balloons, 28 floats, 36 inflatables, more than 800 clowns, 10 marching bands, 9 performance groups, and numerous musical performers. The Rockettes will even be on hand, as will Santa Claus.
Here are some fun facts to keep in mind as you watch the parade.
1. Parade History
The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was held in 1924. The parade has only been canceled three times: in 1942, 1943, and 1944 due to World War II, Macy’s explains.
2. Broadcasting The Parade On TV
NBC has broadcast the parade on TV every year since 1952. Surprisingly, this will be Al Roker’s 27th time anchoring the parade broadcast.
3. Giant Balloons
The iconic balloons have been part of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade since they were added in 1927 by the parade’s artistic director — and noted puppeteer — Tony Sarg. There will be 15 giant balloons this year, including four making their debut.
The new giant balloons this year are “Ada Twist, Scientist;” a Funko POP!-style Grogu — commonly called Baby Yoda — from The Mandalorian; Ronald McDonald; and a Pikachu and Eevee Pokémon balloon.
The tallest balloon is the Diary of A Wimpy Kid balloon, which is 62-feet tall. Sinclair’s Dino the dinosaur balloon is the longest, with a length of 72 feet. Finally, there’s a tie for the widest balloon. Both Funko’s Grogu and Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog are 37 feet wide.
There will be 28 floats in this year’s parade with six making their debuts. They are Birds of a Feather Stream Together by Peacock; Celebration Gator by Louisiana Office of Tourism; Colossal Wave of Wonder by Kalahari Resorts and Conventions; Gravy Pirates by Heinz; Magic Meets the Sea by Disney Cruise Line; and Tiptoe’s North Pole.
This year, Santa’s Sleigh is both the longest and tallest float. It is 60 feet long and 3.5 stories tall.
You’ll be able to watch a wide variety of performing groups this year, including dancers from Ballet Hispánico’s School of Dance and the Fred Astaire Dance Studios, singers from the Broadway Education Alliance Youth Choir, and jumpers from J.U.M.P. (Jumpers United for Macy’s Parade).
Of course, the Radio City Rockettes will be on hand, as has been the case since they first performed in the 1959 parade.
You’ll also be able to listen to Macy’s Singing Christmas Tree, which features a choir with 60 members.
6. Santa Claus
It’s only fitting to end this list with Santa Claus because he closes out the parade, but that hasn’t always been the case. Indeed, the only year Santa wasn’t at the parade’s finale was 1932. That’s because Santa actually led Macy’s Parade that year.
7. 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, you’ll also be able to stream Macy’s Parade on Peacock.
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. Eastern 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.
To learn more about Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, be sure to also read