The annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade will not be a live event this year, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Monday.
The event will be a reimagined virtual event on TV and online due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“It will be a different kind of event. They’re re-inventing the event for this moment in history, and you’ll be able to feel the spirit and the joy of that day on television, online. Not a live parade,” the mayor said at his daily press briefing.
Macy’s will fully detail their plans in the near future. A message on the event website reads: “Following our successful, safe and innovative production of Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks, it is our intention to similarly reimagine Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade this November.”
Some details have been announced. Parade events will be spread over two days with the number of participants reduced by approximately 75 per cent. Social distancing rules will apply.
The parade has been a fixture of the New York City calendar since 1924 and thought to be the largest parade in the world with 3.5 million spectators and 8,000 participants.
Held on Thanksgiving morning, and televised nationally on NBC since 1953, the parade is famous for its marching bands and giant inflatable balloons depicting cartoon characters and super heroes.
Pop stars and the cast of Broadway shows also perform.
This year there will be no marching bands from around the country taking part and no 2.5 mile procession. Local marching and musical ensembles will make up the lineup.
All the action centered outside the flagship Macy’s store in Herald Square, at the end of the traditional parade route.
The trademark balloons will make an appearance but without handlers. They will instead be rigged to a special framework of five vehicles tested and approved by the city.
Traditionally the parade concludes with the arrival of Santa Claus marking the start of the Christmas and holiday season.
Susan Tercero, executive producer of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, said in a statement: “While it will certainly look different in execution, this year’s Macy’s Parade celebration will once again serve its historical purpose — to bring joy into the hearts of millions across the nation.”
This year Thanksgiving falls on 26th November.