The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade is back, and spectators too

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NEW YORK (AP) – Amid the coronavirus pandemic last year, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade returned on Thursday with full precautions.
Balloons, floats, marching bands, clowns and performers – and, of course, Santa Claus – once again covered 2 1/2 miles (4 kilometers) of Manhattan’s streets instead of a block or sometimes pre-taped. Will walk instead. Year.

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Viewers closing in on 2020 can line up the route again. High school and college marching bands from across the country have been invited back to the lineup; Much of the previous year’s cast was based on locally cut travel. Giant balloons tied to vehicles last year are getting their costumed handlers back.

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“Last year was clearly symbolic. It wasn’t everything we loved seeing in the parade, but they kept at it,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news briefing on Wednesday. “This year, the parade is back in full force.”

“It’s going to be a great sign of our rebirth,” he said.

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The Thanksgiving parade is the latest US holiday event in which vaccines, familiarity and sheer gloom have made officials and some of the public more comfortable with large gatherings amid the ongoing pandemic.

Nevertheless, security measures are in place. Parade staff and volunteers must be vaccinated against COVID-19 and wear masks, although some singers and performers may omit them. No vaccination required for spectators, but Macy’s M,
Encouraging them to cover their faces. A popular pre-parade spectacle – giant balloon inflation – was confined to vaccinated spectators.

The Thanksgiving event also comes days after an SUV driver plowed into a Christmas parade in suburban Milwaukee, killing six people and injuring more than 60. Officials said the driver, who has been charged with intentional murder, was running away from police after a domestic dispute.

De Blasio said Wednesday that there was no credible, specific threat to the Thanksgiving parade, but the New York Police Department’s security measures would be as comprehensive as ever.

“I have full confidence in the preparations the NYPD has put in place to keep everyone safe tomorrow,” he said.

Thousands of police officers are deployed along the parade route from the streets to the rooftops. Cars have been blocked from the parade route along with sand-laden garbage trucks, other heavy vehicles and about 360,000 pounds (163,000 kg) of concrete barriers.

NYPD counter-terrorism chief Martin Materasso said bomb detection dogs, bomb squad officers, heavy weapons crews, radiation and chemical sensors and more than 300 additional cameras are also being sent to the parade route.
Inside the barricades, the parade has about 8,000 participants, four dozen balloons of varying sizes, and two dozen floats.

New balloon giants joining the lineup include the title character from Netflix NFLX,
the series “Ada Twist, Scientist”; The Pokémon characters Pikachu and Eevee on a sled (Pikachu has previously appeared in different forms), and Grogu, aka “Baby Yoda”, from the television show “The Mandalorian”. New floats are coming, from spice maker Heinz to NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service to the Louisiana Office of Tourism.

Entertainers and celebrities include Carrie Underwood, John Batiste, Nelly, Kelly Rowland, Miss America Camille Schrier, Band Foreigner and many more. Several Broadway musical artists and the Radio City Rocket are also due to perform.


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