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How to Watch Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade returns Thursday for its 96th year and is expected to attract around three million spectators who will line the streets of Manhattan hoping to catch a glimpse of the huge balloons, marching bands, star performers and, of course, , Santa Claus.

Typically, around 6,500 people gather to work on the parade, which will follow a 2.5-mile route through New York City, beginning on Manhattan’s Upper West Side and ending in Herald Square. Unlike last year, Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade will not require vaccinations for parade attendees; instead, performers must take a Covid-19 test 24 hours before arriving.

Here’s what you need to know about this year’s festivities.

The parade, which begins at 9 a.m., is televised on NBC, Telemundo and the Peacock streaming service.

Hoda Kotb, Savannah Guthrie and Al Roker of “Today” host the parade, which ends at noon. But it is unclear whether Mr. Roker, recently hospitalized with a blood clot, according to his Instagram, will participate.

The festivities will kick off at West 77th Street and Central Park West, but audiences will be limited, if at all, at this location.

Many fans arrive along the route hours early to get spots with great views of the performers. The best places to view the parade are Central Park West from West 75th to West 61st Streets and Sixth Avenue from West 59th to West 38th Streets.

You can find a detailed route map here.

Parade performers will include Paula Abdul, Jimmy Fallon, the Roots and Gloria Estefan, who will appear with her daughter and grandson. As a finale, Mariah Carey will sing “All I Want for Christmas Is You” just before the end of the parade at Macy’s store in Herald Square.

The Ballet Hispánico dance school will return and a number of marching bands, including the Bourbon County High School Marching Colonels and the Benedict College Marching Tiger Band of Distinction, will perform.

There will also be 27 giant balls – a dozen more than last year – as well as seven balls and 31 floats. Some of the balloons will be as tall as four-story buildings or as wide as six taxis. Grogu, also known as Baby Yoda, will return for his second year, accompanied by his floating pram.

To celebrate the World Cup this year, “Striker the US Soccer Star” will debut. As tall as a two-story building and as wide as two taxis, the ball consists of a football player performing a quick bicycle kick.

Bluey, a pup from the hit Australian show, and Stuart the Minion will also appear for the first time, drifting three to four floors above the crowd. A fan favorite will return but will be adorned with a new accessory. Greg Heffley, a character from the popular ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ series, appearing for the 13th time, will be squatting next to a piece of moldy cheese.


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