There were floats, there were balloons, there were Broadway musical acts, there were crowds standing side by side; After a dismal performance in 2020, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade returned to its pre-pandemic glory on Thursday morning.
“Spectators, excluded in 2020, have again lined the road,” greeted the Associated Press. “High school and college bands from across the country have been invited to return to the lineup; most of last year’s performers were based locally to reduce travel. The giant balloons, attached to vehicles last year, have recovered their costumed manipulators. “
While the Thanksgiving Parade went as planned in 2020, the show was marked by a notable absence of jubilant crowds, high school marching bands from across the country, and the 2.5-mile parade route. Here’s how NBC New York announced the event at the time:
While we’re used to seeing the masses gather to see the awe-inspiring balloons descend the course of Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, this year the celebration will be a little different. Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade will air nationwide as an audience-only televised event on NBC and Telemundo on Thursday, November 26 from 9 a.m. ET to 12 p.m. ET, in all time zones.
To bring the show safely to millions across the country during this unprecedented time, the annual production will be reinvented as a televised-only event with no audiences. This year, the procession will forgo the traditional 4 km route in Manhattan in order to avoid gathering large crowds.
The iconic parade balloons will not be anchored by human manipulators this year, but will instead be pulled by specially designed, precision-rolling vehicles.
In the days leading up to the Thanksgiving Morning tradition, parade organizers and New York City vowed the show would revert to its regular format, with Mayor Bill de Blasio hailing it as a sign of the rebirth of the city.
“Last year was obviously symbolic. It wasn’t all we would have liked to see in a parade, but they kept it going, ”the mayor said on Wednesday. “This year, the parade is back in force.
“It will be a great sign of our rebirth,” he added.
The parade returning to its former glory, however, did not mean that the coronavirus was no longer of concern to the event, as vaccinations and masks were required for parade staff and volunteers.
“Parade staff and volunteers should be vaccinated against COVID-19 and wear masks, although some singers and performers may get rid of them,” NPR noted. “There is no vaccination requirement for spectators, but Macy’s encourages them to cover their faces. A popular pre-parade show – the inflating of giant balloons – was limited to vaccinated viewers. “
According to Daily mail, an estimated 2.5 million street spectators lined the parade route.