New York, New York (November 22, 2018) – Today was set to be a Thanksgiving Day parade for the record books. When the 92nd Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade stepped off at 9:00 a.m. the temperature was at 19°. This was the lowest recorded temperature ever for the parade and the second lowest temperature ever recorded on Thanksgiving Day in New York City. Add in the 20mph wind and 30mph gusts, and it was a day to be bundled up as much as one could.
Stepping off at 77th Street and Central Park West, the parade continued along the 2-1/2 mile parade route. It takes a remarkable three-hours from the parade stepping off, to Santa Claus arriving in Midtown in front of Macy’s Herald Square on 34th Street. While in Herald Square, the Recording Artists and Marching Bands perform for the 50 Million television viewers.
If you’ve never attended the parade in person, it is actually very different from what you would view on TV. The performances in Herald Square are not viewable by those lined up along the route. First, the Broadway shows featured during the first part of the broadcast are not involved in the parade. Second, the Recording Artists do not perform along the parade route, but the floats play music and the singers work both sides of the floats to wave and smile at those lining the streets. Third, the marching bands typically have a second song different from their performance to play as they march along, performing from time-to-time along the route. Forth and last, there are thousands of walkers along the route. These seem to support the theme of the group or float they are walking beside. Most have bags of confetti they toss amongst the crowd, waving, hi-fiving, and giving out holiday wishes.
The energy from everyone along the parade route really keeps everything moving well, and the spirits high. From time-to-time, you could see the cold through the expressions on those walking the route, but mostly everyone was ready to celebrate.
Marching bands are a staple of any parade and with a staggering twelve bands in attendance, they provided the soundtrack to the parade route all day. Kicking things off was The Ohio State Marching Band with other University, College, and High School Marching Bands following throughout the day. A highlight of the parade is the Macy’s Great American Marching Band, marching for the parade’s namesake, the band is comprised of top high school musicians from all 50 states and gathers just five days prior to practice in preparation for this magical moment. It’s not easy to perform with instruments freezing up and extremities getting numb, but all of the bands sounded spectacular.
The level of talent from the music industry was in full swing as well. Featuring many well know and established acts, there was plenty of heavyweight star power along the parade route. Not to be outdone, youth was also heavily present. Up-and-comers were well represented, and what a great stage to get to showcase a song to 50 million viewers. As they passed by during the parade route, all of them did their best to interact with the millions of people lining the streets.
The musical acts did not perform along the route, as stated before. This would be an impossible feat as each float would need sophisticated onboard sound, with at least limited production value. Although the limited production during live performances forced many to perform over pre-recorded audio tracks, it did not stop the Barenaked Ladies from performing live vocals in Herald Square. All-in-all the entertainment value is what one might expect along the parade route, and you can actually shout out to your favorite singer and have them interact directly with you, even if it is just a glance, wave, or a smile.
With over 8,000 parade participants, loaded with 26 floats, and including 16 giant balloons, there is plenty to keep you entertained as the parade cruises through Manhattan. The parade will pause every once in a while to allow time for the performances in Herald Square. If you are lucky enough like we were this year, most of the bands and celebrities will stop right around your area. The bands will strike up a song, dancers will dance, and everyone along the route will emit as much holiday cheer as they can.
The parade culminates with the man himself… Santa Claus! Steeped in holiday tradition, Jolly St. Nick is there to officially kick off the holiday season.
One for the record books. Coldest parade on record. Once the parade started you really did not notice the cold. It might have helped being packed in so tight along the parade route, as there was really no way in or out during the parade’s time, it helped keep the wind off of most patrons standing in the crowd.
A big shout out to the NYPD and Port Authority in keeping everyone safe. All points of entry to the parade route featured heavy police presence, as well as barricades of concrete and garbage trucks. Also like clockwork was the sanitary department out with street sweepers, quickly cleaning up the streets as fast as they could. Finally, many crews were busy moving the traffic lights back into position to get the streets ready to open. It takes a bunch of people to put on a show like this, and of all days they do this, Thanksgiving.
Check out the photo gallery and parade order below!
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Parade Order of Participation:
New York City Police Department escort led the Parade
Tom Turkey and Macy’s starlet’s cheerleaders.
The Ohio State Marching Band
Chase, the police dog, PAW Patrol Balloon
Sugarland on the Ocean Spray Float
Pillsbury Dough Boy Balloon
Pilgrim Man and Pilgrim Woman
Carley Pearce on the Jolly Green Giant Float
Grants Pass High School Marching Band
Greg Heffley – Diary of a Wimpy Kid Balloon
Sesame Street Float
Jet from Super Wings Balloon
Brynn Cartelli on the Universal Kids Float
Friends With You – Rainbow and Cloud Balloons
John Legend on the Build a Bear Float
Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon Balloon
James Madison University Marching Band
Pentatonix on Entenmenn’s Float
Fred Astaire Dance Studio
Bazzi on the Frozen Fall Fun Float by Discover Card
Rita Ora on the Krazy Glue Fun House Float
NYPD Marching Band
Go Bowling Balloons
Ashley Tisdale on the Kinder Float
Charlie Brown Balloon
CNS Northstars Marching Band
Big Apple Circus
Bad Bunny on the Sour Patch Kids Float
Park Vista High School Marching Band
Jack and Jack on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Float
Dragonball’s Goku Balloon
Spirit of America Cheer Float with Johnny Orlando and Mackenzie Ziegler
Spirit of America Cheer Group
Ally Brooke Shimmer and Shine Float
The Macy’s Great American Marching Band
Tegan Marie The Girl Scouts Float
Ella Mai on the Kalahari Resorts Float
Riverside City College Marching Band
Spongebob Squarepants Balloon
Barenaked Ladies on the King’s Hawaiian Float
Sinclair Oil Dino and Dino Hatchlings Balloons
Kane Brown on the South Dakota Mount Rushmore Float
Red Mighty Morphine Power Ranger Balloon
Homewood High School Marching Band
Elf on the Shelf Float and Balloon
Leona Lewis on Homewood Suites Float
Woodland High School Marching Band
Keller High School Marching Band
Frozen’s Olaf Balloon
Martina McBride joined by Young Peoples Chorus of NYC on the Balsam Hills Float
Netflix’s Elves Balloons from The Christmas Chronicles
Lafayette High School Marching Band
Diana Ross and Family on the Hallmark Channel’s Float
The Grinch and Max Balloon
Delta Airlines + Macy’s – Singing Christmas Tree
Sunny the Snow Pal Balloon
Spirit of America Dance Stars
Santa Clause and Mrs. Clause, and his famous Reindeer
Macy’s Believe Balloon