Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Monumental entertainment, giant balloons, extraordinary talent–the nation’s largest Thanksgiving Day Parade will take your breath away.

Nothing marks the start of the holiday season in the U.S. with greater fanfare and delight than the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which takes place annually on Thanksgiving Day in Manhattan, New York. This year, the Parade celebrates its 92nd year on Thursday, November 22, 2018, and the march of magic will be more dazzling than ever before.

This year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will redefine spectacle with a jaw dropping mix of must-see entertainment for millions of spectators. Featuring an amazing line-up of high flying balloons, dazzling animated floats, world-class marching bands and performance groups, the nation’s top music artists and of course, the one-and-only Santa Claus, the Macy’s Parade will once again herald the arrival of the holiday season. —Susan Tercero, executive producer of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Millions of fans will gather to watch the 92nd edition of the Parade both in person and on TV on NBC—the famed spectacle’s line-up will feature 16 giant character balloons; 43 novelty balloons, heritage balloons, balloonicles, balloonheads and trycaloons; 26 floats and specialty units; 1,200 cheerleaders and dancers; more than 1,000 clowns; and 12 marching bands.

Over 8,000 people, including Macy’s colleagues, their friends and families, celebrities, performers and others will participate in the Parade.

The Macy’s Parade Studio: Making the Parade Come Alive

The Macy’s Parade Studio is where all the magic comes together. The Studio is the headquarters for all the painters, carpenters, animators and many other experts who build the show’s larger-than-life elements. The team puts in over 50,000 hours of labor to ensure that every detail is perfect—down to the 300 pounds of glitter sprinkled on costumes, floats and more and the 4,200 costumes created for the parade participants. Take a video tour of the Studio’s fascinating Design Room, Production Room, Workshop & Floats and Paint & Balloons here.

History of the Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade

Originally known as the Macy’s Christmas Parade, the Parade tradition was started in 1924 by Macy’s employees who wanted to celebrate the holiday season with a grand pageant comparable to grand European carnivals and festivals. The first Parade featured fanciful floats, employee marching bands, clown groups and live animals from the Central Park Zoo. The event was such a resounding success that it became an annual event from that point forward.

While the Parade has evolved over time, it has always incorporated Macy’s own employee volunteers, talented marching bands and dazzling floats. In 1927, the Parade debuted four giant balloons filled with air and carried on sticks, including the first-ever, character-based balloon featuring the likeness of animated film star, Felix the Cat. The following year, helium was added to the inflatables and ever since, high-flying artworks that showcase the world’s most beloved characters have served as a central component of the Parade spectacle. As the Parade continued to grow and expand, it became a fixture of the holiday season known for bringing families together in joyful celebration. For more on the fascinating history of the parade, check out www.macys.com/parade.

The 2018 Parade Route

The 92nd Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will begin at 9 a.m. at 77th Street and Central Park West. The procession will march to Columbus Circle, turn onto Central Park South and proceed down 6th Avenue/Avenue of the Americas to 34th Street. At 34th Street, the Parade will make its final turn west and end at 7th Avenue in front of Macy’s Herald Square. There’s 2.5 miles of public viewing. Take a spot along the NYC route.

The Parade Lineup

The star power along the Parade route and in homes across the country will feature some of the nation’s most exciting performers. Appearing on board one of Macy’s signature floating stages will be Bad Bunny, Barenaked Ladies, Bazzi, Ally Brooke, Kane Brown, Brynn Cartelli, Jack & Jack, John Legend, Leona Lewis, Ella Mai, Tegan Marie, Martina McBride, Rita Ora, Carly Pearce, Pentatonix, Anika Noni Rose and the cast & Muppets of Sesame Street, Diana Ross with her children and extended family (including Rhonda Ross, Tracee Ellis Ross, Chudney Ross, Ross Naess and Evan Ross with wife Ashlee Simpson-Ross), Sugarland, Ashley Tisdale, Mackenzie Ziegler and Johnny Orlando; with a special appearance by the one-and-only Santa Claus.

The Balloons at the 92nd Thanksgiving Day Parade

This year, the balloons promise to be more spectacular than ever! The Parade’s novelty and giant balloons will include the famed Saiyan warrior Goku from “Dragon Ball Super: Broly;” the elf stars of “The Christmas Chronicles” on Netflix – Fleck, Bjorn, Jojo and Hugg; Sunny the Snowpal; colorful Americana spheres; Peanuts’ loveable blockhead Charlie Brown, who is as high as a 4-story building; DINO, the famed Apatosaurus who first debuted in 1963’s Macy’s Parade and is as long as 12 bicycles; the Flying Fish, which appeared in the 2013 Parade and is now back; Greg Heffley from the Diary of a Wimpy Kid book series by Jeff Kinney, celebrating the 13th book in the series titled Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Meltdown; Illumination Presents Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch and his loyal dog Max (both characters will appear in a new cinematic version of Dr. Seuss’ classic tale "The Grinch," in theaters this November); Jett by Superwings; the Nutcracker; Olaf, the snowman from Disney’s Frozen; PAW Patrol; Pikachu, Pokémon’s brightest ambassador; Pillsbury Doughboy; Red “Believe” Stars as well as other stars in Blue & White and Yellow; Red & Gold Macy’s Snowflakes; Red Mighty Morphin Power Ranger; Ronald McDonald; SpongeBob SquarePants; The Elf on the Shelf; Toothless From How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World; and Trolls.

Macy’s Blue Sky Gallery series will return to the sky this year for the seventh edition with Little Cloud, the iconic creation of art collaborative FriendsWithYou™. Macy’s Blue Sky Gallery series invites contemporary artists to recreate their work as Parade balloons. Artists Samuel Borkson and Arturo Sandoval III will join Little Cloud with a stunning rainbow inflatable and two raindrops in this year’s Parade, creating an artistic expression of joy and whimsy.

The Parade also includes Balloonicles, which are self-powered balloon vehicles. New this year are: Go Bowling (gobowling.com) and Three Baby Dinos. Bulldog (Macy’s); Mouse King; Nutcracker; The Aflac Duck; and Tough Guy are the returning balloonicles.

Pre-Parade Balloon Inflation Event

Balloon Inflation will take place on the day before Thanksgiving. The public is invited to watch the Macy's Giant Balloon Inflation on Wednesday, November 21st, from 1 pm to 8 pm. Enter the special balloon inflation areas surrounding the Museum of Natural History at 74th Street and Columbus Avenue.

This Year’s Floats and Specialty Units

Four new floats will debut this year and many that have appeared in past Parades will return. The new floats: Santa’s Saint Bernards Save Christmas based on a new animated holiday special, Elf Pets: Santa’s Saint Bernards Save Christmas; Splashing Safari Adventure from Kalahari Resorts and Conventions showcasing a thrilling safari through the savannah and down a shimmering river with exotic animals; Fantasy Chocolate Factory by Kinder® and Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Nickelodeon.  

The returning floats: 1-2-3 Sesame Street® (Sesame Workshop™); The Aloha Spirit (King’s Hawaiian®); Big City Cheer! (Spirit of America Productions); Building a Better World (Girl Scouts of the USA); The Cranberry Cooperative (Ocean Spray®); Deck the Halls (Balsam Hill®); Discover Adventure! (Build-A-Bear®); Everyone’s Favorite Bake Shop (Entenmann’s®); Frozen Fall Fun (Discover®/NHL); Fun House (Krazy Glue); Harvest in the Valley (Green Giant®); Heartwarming Holiday Countdown (Hallmark Channel); Mount Rushmore’s American Pride (South Dakota Department of Tourism); On the Roll Again (Homewood Suites by Hilton®); Parade Day Mischief (Sour Patch Kids® Candy); Santa’s Sleigh; Shimmer and Shine (Nickelodeon); Snoopy’s Doghouse (Peanuts Worldwide); Tom Turkey; and Universal Playground (Universal Kids).

Macy’s Singing Christmas Tree (Delta Air Lines) will return for the second year in a row. The massive tree on this float is ‘decorated” with a choir of more than 100 Macy’s colleagues and friends from Delta Air Lines hailing from across the nation and the world. The special float that will commemorate the season through an original holiday song celebrating togetherness and the magic of believing.

Learn all about how the singers landed their cherished role on the float.

This float is an opportunity for us as colleagues to give thanks for this holiday, this company, this country and the power of music.
—Wesley Whatley, VP Creative Director, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

The Marching Bands and Performance Groups

Marching bands are a central piece of the Parade and deliver a hefty dose of hometown pride as well as a holiday beat to the Big Apple’s streets. Twelve performance ensembles will march this year. They include: CNS H.S. Northstars March Band (Cicero, NY); Grants Pass H.S. Marching Band & Color Guard (Grants Pass, OR); Homewood Patriot Band (Homewood, AL); JMU Marching Royal Dukes (Harrisonburg, VA); Keller High School Marching Band (Keller, TX); Lafayette H.S. Mighty Lion Marching Band (Lafayette, LA); Macy’s Great American Marching Band; NYPD Marching Band (New York, NY); Park Vista High School Marching Band Performers (Lake Worth, FL); Riverside City College Marching Tigers (Riverside, CA); The Ohio State U. Marching Band (Columbus, OH); and Woodland High School Wildcat Marching Band (Cartersville, GA).

Performance groups comprising hundreds of spirited talents from all over the country will join these bands to entertain the Parade audience with dances, stunts and high-flying routines.

The Macy’s Parade Shop

Select Macy’s stores and macys.com are providing an opportunity to bring the pageantry home with fun and exciting parade-related merchandise, including the Macy’s 2018 Macy’s Parade Snowglobe; Macy’s 2018 Thanksgiving Day Parade Bandleader Bear; Macy’s Parade Reusable Bag; Macy’s Parade Salt and Pepper Shakers. Visit the Parade website to see the full range of options here:

Television Special Event

Millions of families nationwide will watch The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV as it is broadcast nationally on NBC. This year, Savannah Guthrie, Hota Kotb and Al Roker will host the three-hour broadcast from 9 a.m.–noon (in all time zones). The broadcast will include the world-famous Radio City Rockettes® as well as a variety of Broadway performers.

Interactive Fun

For the third year, Macy’s along with NBCUniversal and Verizon will give viewers an up close and personal second screen experience of the Parade with a 360-degree livestream on Verizon's YouTube page. The stream will go live a 9:00am EST at www.youtube.com/verizon and will run through 12:00pm EST.

To learn more about the 92nd Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the amazing ways in which the Parade has evolved from the 1920s through the 2000s, check out the dedicated interactive parade website. You can also call the Parade hotline at 212-494-4495 for more information.