The 2020 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Performers at the parade wearing masks (Getty Images for Macy’s Inc./Eugene Gologursky)

Performers at the parade wearing masks (Getty Images for Macy’s Inc./Eugene Gologursky)

The parade marched, the balloons flew, the performers sang and danced, and the audience cheered (from the comfort of their homes) this Thanksgiving during The 2020 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. On Thanksgiving morning, from 9 am to noon, Macy’s brought holiday cheer in a whole new way despite the many setbacks 2020 has brought. Although safety measures prohibited the parade from being how it traditionally is, that didn’t stop the parade from spreading some happiness to all its viewers. 


New Balloon of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (NBC Entertainment’s Twitter)


The event hosted by Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, and Al Roker featured a variety of brilliant performances, larger than life balloons, and fantastic floats. With giant balloons soaring through the sky, audiences were shocked by familiar figures and new ones. The parade debuted a few new balloons such as The Boss Baby, The Red Titan, and even a Young Rock Fanny Pack Balloon. To maintain social distancing, the balloons were flown with a minimal amount of human handlers. Additionally, many of the balloons were carried around the Herald Square area by “an innovative, specially rigged anchor vehicle framework of five specialty vehicles” according to Macy’s.



The Cast of Mean Girls performing at the parade (Virginia Sherwood/NBC)

The parade also featured performances from entertainers such as Dolly Parton, Sofia Carson, Tori Kelly, Keke Palmer, the cast and Muppets of Sesame Street, Jordin Sparks, and many more. Performances did not end there as viewers were not disappointed with the featured Broadway performances even though Broadway has been shut down ever since the start of the pandemic. The cast of such Mean Girls, Hamilton, Ain’t Too Proud- The Life and Times of Temptations and Jagged Little Pill reminded the audience that Broadway still is important and will return when they can safely do so. Finally, at the end of the parade, as usual, Santa Claus heralded the way to the holiday season. 


So what safety measures were put in place to ensure protection against the Coronavirus? One of the most important changes to protect the public was that there was no live audience that watched the parade go down its 2.5-mile route. Instead, the parade was entirely broadcasted for live television and staged in front of Macy’s Herald Square flagship at 34th Street. The parade was not only changed for viewers, but those also participating in it. For instance, people participating had to be at least 18 years old and NY Tri-state residents. During the parade, participants had to follow all safety regulations which includes social distancing, wearing masks, and being tested beforehand. As a result of these safety precautions, the overall number of parade participants was reduced by 75%. A part of this reduction in the overall size of the parade included out-of-state high school or college marching bands that were invited to play during the parade. Instead of playing this year at the parade, they were invited to come back next year in 2021. 

Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus with elves (wearing masks for safety)  (AP/Craig Ruttle)

With all these regulations and changes to the typical parade, many debated whether it was worth it or not. Luke Thomas, a Junior at West Morris Central, stated the following in regards to the parade, “I don’t mind it being fully televised, I’ve been to the in-person parade like once and there isn’t anything that I feel like should endanger the safety of others. I even prefer the parade to be televised because I can be with my family and not have to stress about the crowds. Since I’m at home, I can watch it with my family and start cooking. Although there wasn’t much difference for me, I do get why some may be upset. But in the end, I think what’s most important is the safety of everyone”. Despite differing perspectives on how the parade should have been carried out, in the end, the parade still ran its “route” and spread holiday cheer!