Everything you need to know about the Thanksgiving Day Parade: Start time, history and more.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has become an essential part of Thanksgiving celebrations for many families across America, and this year — its 97th iteration — is bound to be spectacular.
Now featuring 25 balloons, six “balloonicicles,” (balloons led by tricycles), 31 floats, 11 marching bands, 18 musical performers, 29 clown crews and seven performance groups, it’s vastly different from the parade that first went on display in 1924.
Here’s everything you need to know about how and when to see the parade and a little bit about its history.
How to watch the Thanksgiving parade
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade starts at 8:30 a.m. EST — half an hour earlier than usual — in New York City at West 77th Street and Central Park West. It is set to wrap up at noon EST.
The parade will be broadcast live on NBC and Peacock, NBC’s streaming service. It will be recorded and broadcast a second time at 2 p.m. EST on NBC, per the “Today” show .
If you’d like to watch in person, the public can view the parade along several areas in the 2.5-mile-long route, which can be found on the parade’s website . This is not a ticketed event and there is no grandstand seating.
History of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
Macy’s opened its flagship department store in New York City in 1922 and expanded it to cover an entire city block in 1924, per the History Channel . To celebrate the expansion, Macy’s hosted a parade on Thanksgiving day that year, although the parade itself was Christmas-themed in order to inspire holiday shopping.
It was nowhere near the extravaganza it is now, but was still impressive at the time, stretching two city blocks and marching through six miles. It was a success, and Macy’s did the same the next year — and the next, and the next. The parade was suspended from 1942 to 1944 because the rubber for the balloons was needed for World War II, per The New York Times , but has continued uninterrupted since then.
The parade has grown and changed quite a bit since its inception. While it originally featured real circus animals, Macy’s soon replaced them with balloons, which were happier to travel the length of the parade route.
What’s new to the Thanksgiving parade in 2023?
This year features several new balloons, including Beagle Scout Snoopy, Po from “Kung Fu Panda,” the Pillsbury Doughboy and the parade’s first balloon of an NFT character, Blue Cat .
There are also four new floats: “Camp Snoopy” from the “Peanuts” franchise, the Good Burger Mobile from the 1996 film “Good Burger,” an outdoor camping scene from Solo Stove Bonfire and “Mutant Mayhem,” which features the four Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
There will also be a total of 18 musical guests performing along the parade route, including Cher, Jon Batiste and Pentatonix.