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What’s new and returning for the ‘Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade’

by Samantha Davis-Friedman

On Nov. 24, 2022, the 96th edition of the “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade” will usher in the start of the holiday season with giant character helium balloons, fantastic floats, star-studded performances, and the one-and-only Santa Claus.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Images courtesy of Macy’s

“Since its first march in 1924 […] ‘Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade’ has served to bring joy to the millions who gather nationwide each year to experience it with friends and family,” said “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade” Executive Producer Will Coss. “This November, as we once again set the stage for the start of the holiday season, we are thrilled to showcase another spectacle full of magic and wonder that will help create everlasting memories with loved ones during this special time of year.”

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Astronaut Snoopy Balloon

For the 96th time, the nation’s most beloved holiday event will take to the streets (and skies) of New York City with 28 floats, 16 giant character balloons, 40 novelty and heritage inflatables, 12 marching bands, ten performance groups, and more than 700 clowns.

Setting the Stage

Broadway’s best will kick off the celebration with a spectacular opening number from Lea Michele and the cast of Broadway’s “Funny Girl,” followed by additional performances from the casts of “A Beautiful Noise,” “Some Like It Hot,” “Disney’s The Lion King” (in celebration of its 25th anniversary), and the iconic Radio City Rockettes.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Rockettes
Photo courtesy of the Rockettes

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade: Spectacular Stars

Joining the festivities this Thanksgiving Day will be Paula Abdul; Big Time Rush; Cam; Jordan Davis; “Blue’s Clues & You!” host Josh Dela Cruz; Gloria, Sasha, and Emily Estefan; Jimmy Fallon & The Roots; Fitz and the Tantrums; Kirk Franklin; Mario Lopez and family; Ziggy Marley; Miss America 2022 Emma Broyles; the cast and Muppets of “Sesame Street;” Sean Paul; the cast of “Peacock’s Pitch Perfect: Bumper in Berlin” (Adam Devine, Sarah Hyland, and Flula Borg); Joss Stone; Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue; Jordin Sparks; Dionne Warwick; and Betty Who.

Additional talent will be announced.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade: Iconic Balloons

Since 1927, the parade’s giant character balloons have become the celebration’s signature, with popular characters transformed into high-flying icons. Over time, Macy’s artists have created several types of inflatables, including balloonheads (inflated heads sitting atop a costumed participant), balloonicles (hybrid inflatables with vehicles inside), and most recently, trycaloons (tandem tricycles with an inflated balloon character).

New balloons joining the line-up this year include Bluey, “Diary of A Wimpy Kid,” Dino and Baby Dino, and Stuart, the Minion.

Making return appearances to the skies above New York City are “Ada Twist, Scientist;” Astronaut Snoopy; “The Boss Baby;” Goku; a Funko Pop!-inspired Grogu; Chase from “Paw Patrol;” Pillsbury Doughboy; Red Titan from “Ryan’s World;” Ronald McDonald; Papa Smurf; Pikachu & Eevee; and SpongeBob SquarePants & Gary.

Returning inflatables also include the Go Bowling balloonicles, Hot Air Dolly, Smokey Bear, and Macy’s special reindeer Tiptoe, and Toni, the Bandleader Bear. Plus, a new balloonicle of Striker, the U.S. Soccer Star.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Striker

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade”: Fantastic Floats

The Parade’s signature floats crafted by Macy’s Parade Studio – a design and production facility that includes carpenters, engineers, electricians, painters, animators, balloon technicians, sculptors, metal fabricators, and scenic and costume designers – showcase the theatricality that has made the parade world-famous.

This year several new floats will debut in the celebration, including Baby Shark with Ziggy Marley, Geoffrey’s Dazzling Dance Party with Jordin Sparks, Supersized Slumber with Ballet Hispánico, and The Wondership with Cam.

The returning floats and their scheduled performers include:

  • 1-2-3 Sesame Street with the cast and Muppets of “Sesame Street”
  • Big City Cheer with Miss America 2022 Emma Broyles
  • Big Turkey Spectacular with Paula Abdul
  • Birds of a Feather Stream Together with Adam Devine, Sarah Hyland, and Flula Borg
  • Blue’s Clues & You! with Josh Dela Cruz
  • The Brick-changer with Fitz and the Tantrums
  • Celebration Gator with Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
  • Christmas in Town Square with Kirk Franklin
  • Colossal Wave of Wonder with Sean Paul
  • Deck the Halls with Gloria, Sasha, and Emily Estefan
  • Elf Pets
  • Everyone’s Favorite Bake Shop
  • Fantasy Chocolate Factory with Big Time Rush
  • Harvest in the Valley with Jordan Davis
  • Heartwarming Holiday Countdown with Joss Stone
  • Her Future is STEM-Sational with Betty Who
  • Macy’s Singing Christmas Tree with the Macy’s Choir
  • Magic Meets the Sea with Captain Minnie Mouse and Friends
  • Santa’s Sleigh
  • Snoopy’s Doghouse
  • Tom Turkey with Mario Lopez and family
  • Toy House of Marvelous Milestones with Dionne Warwick
  • Winter Wonderland in Central Park with Jimmy Fallon & The Roots

Fun Float Facts:

  • Ronald McDonald’s Big Red Show Car is a men’s size 226.
  • Blue has been in the parade since 1999 as both a balloon and a float.
  • 2022 marks the 46th appearance of “Sesame Street” in the “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.”
  • Celebration Gator is the largest float ever, measuring 60 feet from float to tail.
  • Peacock is the first float to stream a live feed of the parade, thanks to a camera operator riding on the tail.

Strike Up the Bands

Hitting the streets of New York City for the 96th “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade” will be talented marching ensembles from Benedict College (Columbia, S.C.), Bourbon County High School (Paris, Ky.), Carmel High School (Carmel, Ind.), Clovis North Educational Center (Fresno, Calif.), Delfines Marching Band (Veracruz, Mexico), Macy’s Great American Marching Band (United States), NYPD Marching Band (New York, N.Y.), The Queer Big Apple Corps (New York, N.Y.), South Dakota State University (Brookings, S.D.), Tarpon Springs High School (Tarpon Springs, Fla.), University of Missouri (Columbia, Mo.), and Vandegrift High School (Austin, Texas).

The annual parade will also feature performances from the dancers of Ballet Hispánico, the Big Apple Circus, Boss Kids, the Fusion Winter Guard, the Kilgore Rangerettes, the puppeteering of Phantom Limb, the iconic stepping of The Sigma Gamma Rho Centennial Steppers, the St. John’s Dance Team, and the Spirit of America Cheer and Spirit of America Dance Stars. 

See the Parade Live

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade route

Spectators can watch the parade kick off from its traditional starting line at 77th Street and Central Park West. From there, the procession will proceed down its signature 2.5-mile route from Central Park West to Columbus Circle before turning onto Central Park South and marching down 6th Avenue/Avenue of the Americas. At 34th Street, the Parade will make its final turn west and end at 7th Avenue in front of Macy’s Herald Square.

Public viewing will be set up along designated portions of the route. Spectators should avoid bringing large bags, umbrellas, backpacks, and strollers. The public entering viewing streets may be subject to a security search. Click here for additional viewing information.

Nationwide Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade Broadcast

The “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade” is one of the nation’s most-watched holiday celebrations. Viewers can watch the Emmy-Award-winning presentation on NBC hosted by “The Today Show”’s Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, and Al Roker (also streaming on Peacock)on Nov. 24, 2022, from 9 a.m.-noon in all time zones.

In addition, the entire NBC broadcast will be presented with live audio descriptions on the Secondary Audio Program channel (SAP).

The stars of Apple TV’s “Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock” will appear throughout the broadcast as Uncle “Travelling” Matt journeys away from Fraggle Rock friends and family to learn the meaning of the “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day” holiday and the impossible-to-answer question: “What is a parade?”

Click here for more information, including behind-the-scenes content, interactive historical information, educational activities, and more.

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