NEW YORK (AP) — Crimped by the coronavirus pandemic last year, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is returning Thursday in full albeit with precautions.
Balloons, floats, marching bands, clowns and performers — and, of course, Santa Claus — will once again wend though 2 1/2 miles (4 kilometers) of Manhattan streets, instead of being confined to one block or sometimes pre-taped last year.
Spectators, shut out in 2020, can line the route again. High school and college marching bands from around the country have been invited back to the lineup; most of last year’s performers were locally based to cut down on travel. The giant balloons, tethered to vehicles last year, are getting their costumed handlers back.
“Last year was obviously symbolic. It wasn’t everything we would have liked to see in a parade, but they kept it going,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news briefing Wednesday. “This year, the parade’s back at full strength.”
“It’s going to be a great sign of our rebirth,” he added.
The Thanksgiving parade is the latest U.S. holiday event to make a comeback as vaccines, familiarity and sheer frustration made officials and some of the public more comfortable with big gatherings amid the ongoing pandemic.