The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is going virtual this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. With large gatherings banned in New York City, Macy's announced they are "reimagining" the annual holiday tradition, which kicks off the Christmas season. Instead of a live parade through the streets of New York City, the 94th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade will be pre-taped and aired across the country on Thursday, November 26, from 9 a.m. to noon, in all time zones.
"This year the celebration will shift to a television only special presentation," Macy's said in a statement, "showcasing the Macy's Parade's signature mix of giant character helium balloons, fantastic floats, street performers, clowns and heralding the arrival of the holiday season with the one-and-only Santa Claus."
The parade, which usually draws a crowd of 3.5 million people and requires around 8,000 volunteers, will be scaled down and filmed over two days in the area around Herald Square. The iconic balloons, which need teams of nearly 100 people to guide them through the 2.5-mile parade route, will be tied to "an innovative, specially rigged anchor vehicle."
The number of volunteers and performers will be cut by 75%, and all workers will be required to wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines.
"The safety of participants and spectators is Macy's number one priority, and this year's 94th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade celebration will be produced solely as a television event allowing millions of New Yorkers and the nation to safely experience it from the comforts of home," Macy's said.
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