Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade: When to watch and what to expect

The three-hour broadcast will air on NBC from 9am EST to 12pm EST

Danielle Zoellner
New York
Wednesday 25 November 2020 18:40
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The 94th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will go ahead this year, but with a twist.

Organisers have made drastic changes in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, meaning the event will be exclusively geared to a TV audience versus a huge in-person crowd. Past parades involved a 2.5-mile route through the heart of Manhattan in New York City.

The parade will air on NBC on 26 November from 9am EST to 12pm EST. People can watch on NBC or livestream the event on, Verizon’s Twitter account, or other Verizon media sites.

The event will take place on just one block around Herald Square in Manhattan, where the Macy’s flagship department store is located. 

The number of participants involved in the parade was also scaled back by 88 per cent, Variety reports.

“Every year we have two parades: There’s the one for New Yorkers who line the parade along the streets, and we knew that couldn’t happen, we couldn’t march from uptown to downtown,” executive producer Susan Tercero told Variety. 

“The other parade is the one that happens on television for 50 million people. We knew that was going to be our safest way of moving forward.”

With the parade still taking place on the streets of Manhattan, organisers implored pedestrians not to congregate in an effort to avoid large crowds.

While the parade might be scaled back, it still promised hours of musical performances, parade floats, and Santa Claus ending the show.

Musical appearances include performances by Patti LaBelle, Keke Palmer, Dolly Parton, Jordin Sparks, Pentatonix, Bebe Rexha, the Radio City Rockettes and others.

New York City’s theatre scene will also make multiple appearances, like in past years, in pre-taped moments that include the casts of Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations, Hamilton, Jagged Little Pill, and Mean Girls

These performances come at a time when Broadway shows have been postponed until at least May 2021 due to the pandemic.

Ms Tercero told Variety that organisers found a way to “balance” both pre-tapped and live performances for the broadcast.

“We will still be doing it live because there is some magic in that,” she said. “I think that people are missing live entertainment, one of those things where you never know what’s going to happen. And people will want to tune in to see how we put it all together.”

One performance change in the line-up is that all high school and college bands initially invited to perform during the parade will not be allowed this year. They were instead invited to perform in the 2021 parade.

The NYPD Police Band, the West Point Band, and the FDNY bagpipe band are among the professional bands scheduled to perform instead.

The 94th parade comes after months of the city cancelling other events, including its Saint Patrick’s Day Parade, Pride Parade, and Puerto Rican Day Parade. It was decided the upcoming parade would include performances originally planned for the other cancelled parades as well.

Jimmy Fallon and the Roots will open the show, while Santa Claus will again close out the parade, like he does every year.

NBC Today’s Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, and Al Roker – who recently returned to work after undergoing surgery for prostate cancer – will lead the three-hour telecast on Thursday.

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