4 Ways the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Is Keeping Things Safe in 2020

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
James Devaney/Getty Images

The holidays aren’t canceled! The 94th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade — the unofficial launch of the holiday season — takes a detour this year to keep folks safe due to COVID, but “all the traditions will continue,” says exec producer Susan Tercero. That means balloons, floats, performers such as the Rockettes, and Santa! Here’s the 2020 game plan.

1. Centralized Action

Instead of starting uptown by New York City’s Central Park, things kick off at the main Macy’s entrance on 34th Street. Oh, and one big change — Herald Square will not be hosting spectators. “This is really like a closed set,” says Tercero.

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The holiday staple will carry on with a new special format.

2. Balloons Hitch a Lift

To reduce the number of volunteers needed to pull the strings, Astronaut Snoopy, the new Boss Baby, Pikachu (above, in 2019) and their fellow inflatables will be tethered to utility vehicles. “We have someone sitting on the back [operating] a pulley, someone driving and someone walking next to the vehicle to ensure safety,” she says.

3. Local Talent Enlisted

Out-of-town marching bands and cheer squads are, well, out. Instead, hosts Al Roker, Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb will welcome cultural groups from the NYC area, including some from the previously delayed National Puerto Rican Day Parade and Coney Island’s kitschy Mermaid Parade.

Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade

(Credit: Peter Kramer/NBC)

4. Pretaped Where Possible

Most of the event airs live, but some celebrity performances shoot the day before and will be edited in. Same for Broadway numbers from Mean Girls, Jagged Little Pill, Ain’t Too Proud,and Hamilton.

The 94th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, 9am/8am c, NBC