Macy’s 96th Annual Thanksgiving Day Parade kicked off today fifteen minutes earlier than previous years, to make up for last year’s late start. There were many changes to the event this year, which was not as large of a celebration as in pre-pandemic years; some of the most noteworthy changes were the heightened security protocols in the wake of two mass shootings across the country and a terrorist threat on a synagogue in New York. The security presence couldn’t be ignored, as there were armored trucks and police of varying levels of armed patrolling the parade route.
Another notable change was the lack of Al Roker’s interviews with the celebrity talent, as well as Roker himself, due to an ongoing illness. Roker has been hosting the event since 1995, and this is the first time in 27 years that he has sat the parade out.
There were new floats in addition to the old, and in addition, there were changes to the balloon line up. Toys R Us, partnered with and reopened under the Macy’s banner, received a float where performer Jordan Sparks greeted fans. Included also was an Elf on a Shelf float, in lieu of the balloon that typically dominated near the end of the Thanksgiving Day Parade.
While the parade has had some noticeable changes from pre-pandemic, the Thanksgiving Day Parade maintains the spirit which has carried the event for almost 100 years.
Story by Emily Cotler
Photos by Bruce Cotler, Samantha Cotler, Gabriele Holtermann and Andrew Schwartz