What to Expect From the 2021 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Courtesy of NBC

NBC is kicking off the holiday season as it always does with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 25, and it’s the 95th march!

This year’s event, as the parade takes to the streets of New York City, will feature 15 giant character balloons, 28 floats, 36 novelty and heritage inflatables, more than 800 clowns, 10 marching bands and nine performance groups, a host of musical stars, and Santa Claus. It will air from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. in all time zones on NBC and Telemundo, as well as be live-streamed on Peacock. Today‘s Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, and Al Roker will host the three-hour telecast for NBC and Peacock, while En Casa con Telemundo’s Ana Jurka and Carlos Adyan, accompanied by Freddy Lomelí, will host Telemundo’s coverage.

The Broadway performances include SIX, Moulin Rouge!, and Wicked, as well as a sneak preview of NBC’s upcoming Annie Live! (premiering December 2). Read on for more about NBC’s coverage of the Macy’s Parade.

The Stars

Among the stars joining the Parade in 2021 are: aespa, Jimmie Allen, Jon Batiste, Blue’s Clues & You! host Josh Dela Cruz and the former hosts of Blue’s Clues Steve Burns and Donovan Patton, Kristin Chenoweth, Darren Criss, Jordan Fisher, Foreigner, the cast of Peacock’s Girls5eva (Sara Bareilles, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Paula Pell, Busy Philipps), Andy Grammer, Mickey Guyton, Chris Lane, Miss America Camille Schrier, the cast and Muppets of Sesame Street, Nelly, Kim Petras, Kelly Rowland, Rob Thomas, Tai Verdes, Zoe Wees, and Tauren Wells.

In addition to the aforementioned Broadway performances, there will be a special performance from Carrie Underwood from her album My Gift (Special Edition) and, of course, the show-stopping Radio City Rockettes come to Herald Square.

The Balloons

New giant balloons joining the lineup in 2021 include Ada Twist, Scientist by Netflix; a Funko Pop! inspired Grogu (a.k.a. Baby Yoda) from The Mandalorian, Ronald McDonald by McDonald’s, and Pikachu & Eevee by The Pokémon International Company.

Baby Yoda in The Mandalorian

The Mandalorian (Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Giant balloons returning this year include: Astronaut Snoopy by Peanuts Worldwide; The Boss Baby by DreamWorks Animation and Universal Pictures; Diary of A Wimpy Kid by Abrams Books; Sinclair’s DINO by Sinclair Oil Corporation; Goku by Toei Animations, Inc.; Chase from PAW Patrol by Nickelodeon; Pillsbury Doughboy by Pillsbury; Red Titan from “Ryan’s World” by Sunlight Entertainment and pocket.watch; Papa Smurf from The Smurfs by Nickelodeon; Sonic the Hedgehog by SEGA; andSpongeBob SquarePants & Gary by Nickelodeon.

Also part of the inflatables in 2021 are: Sinclair’s Baby DINOs and theGo Bowling balloonicles; Smokey Bear by the U.S.D.A. Forest Service; and Macy’s very own special reindeer Tiptoe and Toni the Bandleader Bear.

The Floats

The six new floats joining the parade are: Birds of a Feather Stream Together by Peacock (cast of Peacock’s Girls5eva); Celebration Gator by Louisiana Office of Tourism (Jon Batiste); Colossal Wave of Wonder by Kalahari Resorts and Conventions (Nelly); Gravy Pirates by HEINZ; Magic Meets the Sea by Disney Cruise Line (Jordan Fisher and special guests); and Tiptoe’s North Pole.

Busy Philipps, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Sara Bareilles, Paula Pell in Girls5eva

Girls5eva (Heidi Gutman/Peacock)

Returning floats, with their scheduled performers include: 1-2-3 Sesame Street by Sesame Workshop (The cast and Muppets of Sesame Street); Big City Cheer by Spirit of America Productions (Miss America Camille Schrier); Big Turkey Spectacular by Jennie-O (Tai Verdes); Blue’s Clues & You! by Nickelodeon (Josh Dela Cruz, Steve Burns and Donovan Patton); The Brick-changer by The LEGO Group (Zoe Wees); Christmas in Town Square by Lifetime (Kelly Rowland); Deck the Halls by Balsam Hill (Kristin Chenoweth); Elf Pets by The Lumistella Company; Everyone’s Favorite Bake Shop by Entenmann’s (Andy Grammer); Fantasy Chocolate Factory by Kinder (Darren Criss); Harvest in the Valleyby Green Giant (Jimmie Allen); Heartwarming Holiday Countdown by Hallmark Channel (Rob Thomas); Her Future is STEM-Sational by Olay (aespa); Home Sweet Home by Cracker Barrel Old Country Store (Tauren Wells); Macy’s Singing Christmas Tree (Macy’s Choir); Mount Rushmore’s American Pride by South Dakota Department of Tourism (Chris Lane); Rexy in the City by COACH (Kim Petras); Santa Express and Starflakes by Universal Orlando Resort; Santa’s Sleigh (Santa Claus); Tom Turkey, Toy House of Marvelous Milestones by New York Life (Foreigner); and Winning Winter Together by MassMutual and NHL (Mickey Guyton).

The Marching Bands & Performance Groups

The 2021 parade’s marching bands include: The Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders (Austin, TX), Brownsburg High School (Brownsburg, IN), Centerville High School(Dayton, OH), Hampton University (Hampton, VA), Lincoln Way High School (Frankfort, IL), Macy’s Great American Marching Band (United States), NYPD Marching Band (New York, NY), Trabuco Hills High School (Mission Viejo, CA), Union High School (Tulsa, Oklahoma), and University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa, AL).

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Plus, festive episodes of 'General Hospital' and 'Home Economics,' and Disney's 'Magical Holiday Celebration' returns.

The performance groups along the route are: the dazzling dancers of Ballet Hispánico’s School of Dance, the harmonious voices of the Broadway Education Alliance Youth Choir, the fancy footwork of the Fred Astaire Dance Studios, the special tributaries of Indigenous Direction, the out of the world skills of J.U.M.P. (Jumpers United for Macy’s Parade), the razzle dazzle of the St. John’s Dance Team, the energetic Spirit of America Cheer and Spirit of America Dance Stars, and the moving voices of the Young People’s Chorus of NYC.