Balloons, bands and Santa: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade ushers in vacation season in New York

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By Calvin S. Nelson

NEW YORK — Beloved characters like Snoopy and SpongeBob SquarePants soared via the skies above New York Metropolis on Thursday and bands marched alongside the streets beneath because the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade ushered within the vacation season.

The parade began on Manhattan’s Higher West Facet making its approach alongside Central Park in entrance of huge crowds and a nationwide tv viewers earlier than ending in entrance of Macy’s flagship retailer on thirty fourth Road.

Among the many huge names performing is Cher, who simply launched her first Christmas album. The Oscar-, Emmy- and Grammy Award-winner has a first-rate spot — performing simply earlier than the arrival of Santa Claus, which marks the top of the parade.

Different celebrities and musical teams participating embrace Jon Batiste, Bell Biv DeVoe, Brandy, Jessie James Decker, Pentatonix and Miss America 2023 Grace Stanke. The parade additionally contains performances from the casts of some Broadway reveals.

The parade was briefly disrupted when a few half-dozen protesters in jumpsuits coated in pretend blood glued themselves to the road simply in entrance of a float carrying characters from the quick meals large McDonald’s. They carried a banner that mentioned “Free Palestine” and “Genocide then. Genocide now” and have been taken into custody.

The parade continued as police labored.

New balloons debuting this yr embrace Leo the lizard, a personality from a Netflix movie, who’s greater than 40 ft (12.5 meters) tall, in addition to ones which have been there earlier than — like SpongeBob, coming in at 44 ft (13.4 meters).

Some characters, like Snoopy, have been within the parade for a few years, however this yr’s balloon is a brand new Beagle Scout Snoopy model — celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of his first look within the Peanuts comics.

The parade is not nearly what is going on on within the skies, although. At road degree, the procession contains greater than two dozen floats, interspersed with marching bands from across the nation and plenty of clown crews among the many 8,000 individuals collaborating, organizers mentioned.

1000’s lined the streets in coats on a cold, sunny morning. Kids have been on the shoulders of their dad and mom, shouting as characters like Bluey and Large Hen from Sesame Road handed by.

Terri Brown, her husband and their youngsters, ages 3, 5 and eight, have been groggy after the 30-mile (50-kilometer) drive from Westfield, New Jersey. However their faces lit up because the parade began.

“I’ve all the time needed to convey them right here since I used to come back as a child,” Brown mentioned. “I’m completely happy it’s good climate.”

Ross Greenstein drove 10 hours from Michigan to catch the parade together with his daughter, who’s learning legislation in New York, in addition to his spouse and two different youngsters. Earlier than Thursday, he had solely seen the parade on TV.

“I grew up each Thanksgiving, waking up and leaping on the sofa and watching the parade,” Greenstein mentioned. “We got here to see the parade for the primary time in my life and it feels very surreal.”

That is the 97th time the parade has been held since 1924.

The published is hosted by Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Al Roker from “Immediately” and airs on NBC.

President Joe Biden and his spouse Jill known as NBC through the parade. The president advised Al Roker that folks ought to take a second to be grateful to dwell in a rustic with a lot.

“We’re the best nation on this planet. We must always deal with that. We must always deal with coping with our issues and cease the rancor,” Biden mentioned.

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