Al Roker Misses Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for First Time in 27 Years

Bluey balloon during the 2022 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

The 2022 holiday season got underway with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade taking place on Thursday, November 24, with an estimated 3 million people gathering in New York City to enjoy the festivities, including a special performance by Mariah Carey.

As always, the Today show’s Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie led the NBC coverage of the parade, which travels the 2.5-mile route from Central Park West to Seventh Avenue in front of Macy’s Herald Square.

Sadly, the Today show’s Al Roker was missing the parade for the first time in 27 years due to his ongoing health battleDylan Dreyer stood in for the beloved weathercaster. Kotb and Guthrie sent their well wishes to Roker at the top of today’s broadcast.

The Queen of Christmas herself, Mariah Carey, showed out for the event, performing her iconic holiday hit “All I Want For Christmas Is You” while wearing a red dress and tiara and holding a super fancy umbrella.

This year’s parade kicked off with a special performance of “Don’t Rain On My Parade” by Lea Michele and the cast of Broadway’s Funny Girl. Additional Broadway performances included showstoppers from Some Like It Hot, A Beautiful Noise, and Disney’s The Lion King, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

The Broadway acts were followed by a performance from The Rockettes and a live phone call with President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden. However, some technical difficulties during the interview led to many viewers calling the segment “awkward.”

Of course, most people came out to see the parade floats and giant character balloons, which have been a staple of the event since 1927. Joining this year’s line-up were the popular children’s show Bluey from BBC Studios, Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Abrams Books, DINO and Baby DINO from Sinclair Oil, and Stuart the Minion from Illumination.

Returning balloon favorites included Astronaut Snoopy by PEANUTS Worldwide, Ada Twist, Scientist by Netflix, Pillsbury Doughboy by Pillsbury, Papa Smurf from Nickelodeon, Pikachu & Eevee by The Pokémon Company International, SpongeBob SquarePants & Gary by Nickelodeon, and a Funko Pop!-inspired Grogu by Funko and Lucasfilm.

Paula Abdul wowed with a performance of her classic hits “Straight Up.” Other celebrities on hand included Jimmy Fallon & The Roots, Blue’s Clues & You! host Josh Dela Cruz, Gloria, Sasha and Emily Estefan, Sean Paul, Joss Stone, Ziggy Marley, Kirk Franklin, Mario Lopez, Dionne Warwick, the cast and muppets of Sesame Street, and the cast of Peacock’s Pitch Perfect: Bumper in Berlin (Adam Devine, Sarah Hyland, and Flula Borg), and many more.

Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Parade, Tuesday, November 24, from 9 am et, NBC