Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Re-Imagined For Television Only Presentation

The show will go on... but with a few modifications.

Written by Lauren Laffer
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Re-Imagined For Television Only Presentation
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 22: (L-R) Kristian Bush and Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland attend the 2018 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 22, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/FilmMagic)

Thanksgiving will look a bit different this year as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has been revamped for the first time in its more than 90-year history. Due to the coronavirus pandemic and the need to alleviate crowds, the city of New York and Macy’s have agreed to make this year’s spectacle a television-only event.

“New York City is always proud to join Macy’s to ring in the holiday season with New Yorkers and viewers around the world. We’ve worked closely with the Macy’s team on a safe and creative plan this year, and we look forward to keeping this tradition going on Thanksgiving Day,” said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in a press release.

“Macy’s believes in celebration and the joy of marking milestone moments with family and friends. The Macy’s Parade is our love letter and gift to the City of New York and the nation. Under the unique challenges of these unparalleled times, we felt it was important to continue this cherished holiday tradition that has been the opening act to the holiday season for generations of families,” added Susan Tercero, executive producer of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. “While it will certainly look different in execution, this year’s Macy’s Parade celebration will once again serve its historical purpose – to bring joy into the hearts of millions across the nation.”

As part of the Macy’s health and wellness plan, parade planners revealed several key points to execute the event safely and according to CDC guidelines (see the list below):

  • Reducing the overall number of participants by approximately 75%, and splitting the remaining participants over two days
  • All participants will be appropriately socially distanced during performances and be required to wear face coverings and additional personal protective equipment depending on their role
  • Shifting to a television-broadcast-only production with staging for Parade elements focused solely in/ around the Herald Square area of Midtown Manhattan
  • The traditional 2.5-mile Parade route will not be utilized this year
  • No participant in the Parade will be under 18 years of age
  • Previously selected regional High School and College Marching Bands performances will be deferred to the 2021 Macy’s Parade, with locally based professional marching and musical ensembles taking musical duties in the lineup
  • Macy’s traditional Giant Balloon Inflation public event on Wednesday will not take place
  • Macy’s signature giant character balloons will be flown without the traditional 80-100 handlers and instead employ an innovative, specially rigged anchor vehicle framework of five specialty vehicles tested and approved by the NYCDOT and NYPD

While the parade will not include its normal live audience filling the streets of New York, viewers are promised the parade’s signature floats, balloons, street performers and more, all culminating in the arrival of Santa Claus.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is also known for its live performances from some of music’s biggest acts. Over the years, country stars including Chris Young, Chris Janson, Tenille Townes, SugarlandCarly PearceKane BrownMartina McBride, Tegan Marie, Lauren AlainaDustin LynchCam and Sara Evans have all landed spots performing during the holiday spectacular.

In addition to the re-imagined parade, Macy’s announced that its stores nationwide would remain closed on Thanksgiving Day. The store encourages shoppers to visit or the mobile app to find Black Friday deals. Stores will re-open on Friday, with added options including contactless curbside pick-up, buy online pick-up in store and same day delivery.

The 94th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will air nationwide on NBC-TV, Thursday, November 26, 2020 from 9:00 a.m. to Noon, in all time zones. For more information about this year’s parade, visit