Mayor de Blasio Cancels Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has canceled the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade amid the COVID-19 pandemic, breaking from a 94-year tradition. Instead, the event will be held virtually.

“It will be a different kind of event. They’re reinventing the event for this moment in history, and you’ll be able to feel the spirit and the joy of that day on television, online. Not a live parade but something that will really give us that warmth and that great feeling we have on Thanksgiving Day,” de Blasio said during his press briefing Monday.

Macy’s says that the event will still feature performances and the trademark balloon characters. However, all talent will be locally sourced and balloons will be guided by vehicles and not the normal 80-100 people they traditionally require.

“Macy’s believes in celebration and the joy of marking milestone moments with family and friends. The Macy’s Parade is our love letter and gift to the City of New York and the nation. Under the unique challenges of these unparalleled times, we felt it was important to continue this cherished holiday tradition that has been the opening act to the holiday season for generations of families,” said Susan Tercero, executive producer of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. “While it will certainly look different in execution, this year’s Macy’s Parade celebration will once again serve its historical purpose – to bring joy into the hearts of millions across the nation.”

Macy’s included the following list with a number of adjustments to the event:

  • Reducing the overall number of participants by approximately 75%, and splitting the remaining participants over two days
  • All participants will be appropriately socially distanced during performances and be required to wear face coverings and additional personal protective equipment depending on their role
  • Shifting to a television-broadcast-only production with staging for Parade elements focused solely in/ around the Herald Square area of Midtown Manhattan
  • The traditional 2.5-mile Parade route will not be utilized this year
  • No participant in the Parade will be under 18 years of age
  • Previously selected regional High School and College Marching Bands performances will be deferred to the 2021 Macy’s Parade, with locally based professional marching and musical ensembles taking musical duties in the lineup
  • Macy’s traditional Giant Balloon Inflation public event on Wednesday will not take place
  • Macy’s signature giant character balloons will be flown without the traditional 80-100 handlers and instead employ an innovative, specially rigged anchor vehicle framework of five specialty vehicles tested and approved by the NYCDOT and NYPD

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