The 2020 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Will Go On

One of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions, other than the food, of course, is to watch The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. This celebration is the largest parade in the world, with acts spanning from enormous balloons to Broadway musical performances to the anticipated arrival of Santa Claus. This parade has been a Thanksgiving staple in many American households for almost one-hundred years and, according to NBC New York, this year is no exception.


The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade began in 1924 and was staged by New York City Macy’s employees. Many of these workers were emigrants from Europe and wanted to create a celebration like they had in their respective countries. The first parade included three floats that were pulled by horses, four bands, and a multitude of Central Park Zoo animals including elephants and camels. The end of the parade also featured Santa Claus, thus beginning the tradition we know today. It wasn’t until 1927 that the giant balloons were added to the line-up. They were used in place of the animals which ended up frightening children in past years. One interesting fact is that the balloons were initially released into the air at the finale of the parade with a one-hundred-dollar cash reward for anyone who returned them. This tradition quickly ended though, as several airplane pilots almost crashed trying to capture them. In 1934, celebrities became very important to the parade with Eddie Cantor, a famous singer and actor, performing that year. During World War II, 1942 to 1944, the parade was canceled because of a rubber and helium shortage, making those years the only time the parade has been called off since it starts. When the parade returned in 1945, it was broadcast to televisions around the country for the first time. Every year since then, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade team has tried to outdo themselves, and, luckily for us, not even a global pandemic could stop them. 


With the COVID-19 pandemic, there will obviously be a lot of changes to this year’s parade. It will be a television-only event with no in-person audience. They have also decided to forego the 2.5 mile-route and are keeping it next to the Macy’s building. One thing that hasn’t changed though, is the amazing line-up of performers and celebrities. The list includes Lauren Alaina, Noah Cyrus, Jimmy Fallon and the Roots, Tori Kelly, Patti LaBelle, Keke Palmer, Dolly Parton, Pentatonix, Bebe Rexha, and, of course, Santa Claus. There will also be a multitude of bands performing including the All-female samba drumline Fogo Azul NYC, The Lesbian and Gay Big Apple Corps Band, the FDNY Emerald Society Pipes and Drums, and the West Point Marching Band. Last, but not least, is my whole reason for watching the parade: the Broadway musicals. This year there will be performances from the cast of Ain’t Too Proud, Hamilton, Mean Girls, and, of course, The Radio City Rockettes. 


Needless to say, this year's parade will go on and it will be bigger and better than ever. Whether you watch for the performances, the balloons, or the holiday spirit, this year’s parade will not disappoint.