Nothing rings in the holidays quite as elaborately as the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Clowns, dancers, marching bands, and celebrities are now prepping for the parade's 83rd march from Central Park to Herald Square, to begin at 9am on Thursday, November 26th.
In a break from its modern edginess, the parade brings true Americana to the Manhattan streets. From hometown marching bands to corny clown jokes, Macy's reaches for the wholesome core of American culture. Sure, there are celebrities, but they do their best to blend with the surreal quaintness of float decor. This year's famous guests include Andrea Bocelli, Alan Cumming, The Roots, Jimmy Fallon, Jane Krakowski, Cyndi Lauper, Ziggy Marley, Miss America 2009 Katie Stam, Carly Simon, and the cast of the Big Apple Circus.
One of the most spectacular sights of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is watching balloon wranglers wrestle with giant helium-filled renditions of cartoon favorites. Like monsters from an apocalyptic film, Spider-man, Pillsbury Doughboy, Ronald McDonald, Sailor Mickey Mouse, and Kermit the Frog will march between skyscrapers, hovering above the heads of millions of spectators.
Arrive early, especially if you have kids who need to be up front to see the show. People begin lining the streets as early as 6 am. Dress warm and bring chairs or a blanket. A thermos of hot cocoa is a must! It'll keep you warm until the grand finale—the arrival of Santa Claus. This year, Santa rides atop a new Santa's Sleigh float—its first re-imagining in over 40 years.
This year's parade route follows a new, 2.65 mile, course along 7th Avenue. See the route to ensure you set up camp accordingly.