The iconic, famous Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Parade is a staple for Americans celebrating the holiday. Many tourists travel to New York City to watch the balloon parade in person, and others make it a tradition to watch it Thanksgiving morning on their televisions with family. But while Thanksgiving is still months away, Macy’s has decided for their first time in history to not do the parade live, and instead, do a television version of the event.
Dating back to 1924, the parade has to modify due to concerns of large gatherings and the spread of the coronavirus. While Americans search for a return to normalcy, the event is a harsh reminder that the coronavirus shutdown is still very much in effect. The Wednesday balloon inflation event has been canceled, and the in-person event on Thursday usually brings 3.5 million parade spectators to New York City. The televised version of the parade brings in more than 50 million viewers a year.
But this year, there will be no marching bands, and the balloons will be tied to vehicles instead of held by people. Local musical performers are expected to take the place and bring some attraction to the event. Those who are involved will have to wear masks and practice social distancing.
In a statement, Mayor de Blasio applauded Macy’s decision for their civic mindfulness. He said, “We know this city’s come a long way, and we’re also going to be smart and cautious with every step we take…to make sure we come back, but we come back safely. There are some things we still can’t do. We still can’t have the kind of large gathering that are some of the high points of the year. Any year would normally have the parades and the major community events. Those kinds of things still have to wait. We’re looking forward to a lot of them coming back in 2021.”
This is the first time the parade has been changed in its more than 90 year history.