Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade returns, with all the trimmings

New York (AFP) – After last year’s coronavirus pandemic faltered, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade returns Thursday in full albeit with precautions.

Balloons, floats, bands, clowns and performers — and, of course, Santa Claus — again along 2 1/2 miles (4 kilometers) of Manhattan streets, rather than being confined to a single building or sometimes pre-recorded last year.

Viewers, who will be closed in 2020, can rearrange the track again. High school and college rally teams from across the country were invited back into the lineup; Most of last year’s artists were local to cut back on travel. Giant balloons, strapped to cars last year, have brought their uniformed workers back.

Police walk past an inflated Grogu helium balloon, aka Baby Yoda, Wednesday, November 24, 2021, in New York as the balloon is prepared for Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Associated Press/Ted Shaffery)

The past year was clearly symbolic. “It wasn’t everything we wanted to see on the show, but they kept doing it,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news briefing on Wednesday. “This year, the show has come out in full force.”

“It will be a great sign of our rebirth,” he added.

The Thanksgiving Day Parade is the latest event of the US holiday to re-emerge as vaccinations, familiarity and sheer frustration have made officials and some of the public more comfortable with large gatherings amid the ongoing pandemic.

However, safety measures continue. Parade of staff and volunteers He must be vaccinated against Covid-19 disease and wear masks, although some singers and performers can get away with it. There is no vaccination for spectators, but Macy’s encourages them to cover their faces. It was a common pre-show scene – giant balloons inflating – restricted to vaccinated viewers.

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The Thanksgiving event also comes days after there’s an SUV driver Through a Christmas show in a Milwaukee suburb, killing six people and injuring more than 60. Authorities said the driver, accused of premeditated murder, was quickly evading police after a local dispute.

De Blasio said Wednesday that there is no specific credible threat to the Thanksgiving march, but that the NYPD’s security measures will be extensive, as usual.

“I am very confident in what the NYPD has prepared to keep everyone safe tomorrow,” he said.

Thousands of police officers were assigned to the parade route, from the streets to the rooftops. Cars are blocked from the parade route by garbage trucks full of sand, other heavy vehicles, and about 360,000 pounds (163,000 kg) of concrete barriers.

Messi's Thanksgiving Day Parade
The crew pumps helium into a Pikachu and Evie balloon in New York on Wednesday, November 24, 2021, as the balloon prepares for a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. (Associated Press/Ted Shaffery)

Bomb detection dogs, bomb squad officers, heavy weapons teams, radiological and chemical sensors and more than 300 additional cameras are also being sent to the parade route, said Martin Materaso, NYPD’s chief of counterterrorism.

Inside the barricades, the parade features about 8,000 participants, four dozen balloons of various sizes and dozens of floats.

New balloon giants joining the lineup include the title character from the Netflix series “Ada Twist, Scientist”; Pokémon characters Pikachu and Eevee on a sleigh (Pikachu appeared before, differently), and Grogu, aka “Baby Yoda,” from the TV show “The Mandalorian.” The new floats are coming from entities ranging from condiment maker Heinz to Peacock’s streaming service on NBCUniversal to the Louisiana Bureau of Tourism.

Artists and celebrities include Carrie Underwood, John Baptiste, Nelly, Kelly Rowland, Miss America Camille Shearer, the foreign band, and many more. Several musical actors are also scheduled to perform on Broadway and Radio City Rocket.

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