Macy's Thanksgiving Parade Pivots to Virtual Event Amid Pandemic

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The annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade will not be scrapped entirely, it has been announced. 

The event, which typically attracts thousands of visitors has been drastically scaled back for 2020 amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio broke the news Monday during his daily press briefing.

Macy's Thanksgiving

“It will be a different kind of event," he said.

"They’re reinventing 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,” he added.

Macy's 2019 Event

“Not a live parade but something that will really give us that warmth and that great feeling we have on Thanksgiving Day.”

Macy's, on its own website, vowed to "reimagine" the parade, noting its “successful, safe and innovative production of Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks” as an example of maintaining tradition with the new safety protocols.

“For those that can’t remember back to July (it’s been a really long year), Macy’s set off small, five-minute fireworks in each New York borough throughout the week, leading up to a finale over the Empire State Building — all in front of zero spectators,” the company said.

The event will abandon the traditional 2.5-mile route and employ five specialty vehicles to anchor the signature giant character balloons.

macy event

“This year the celebration will shift to a television only special presentation,” the company said in a statement.

"Showcasing the Macy’s Parade’s signature mix of giant character helium balloons, fantastic floats, street performers, clowns and heralding the arrival of the holiday season with the one-and-only Santa Claus.

NBC has the TV rights and it will air as The 94th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade nationwide on, Thursday, November 26 from 9 a.m. to noon, in all time zones.

Moving to a largely virtual event is not surprising considering the scale of previous events, and the COVID-19 pandemic. 

What are your thoughts on the news?

Hit the comments below. 

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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