The 95th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade comes back with in-person audience
The 95th annual Macy’s Day Parade had a live audience, resulting in a more normal Thanksgiving for New York. COVID-19 restrictions and regulations allowed a live audience this year, as vaccination rates rise in the city. The parade came back in full, with performances from the Rockettes, various singers and Broadway performances.
In 2020 the parade did not have a live audience due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The parade still occurred, however featured fewer performances and only appeared to a broadcast audience. In normal years, the parade has 3.5 million in-person viewers.
This year the parade allowed out of state bands as well as balloon holders to return to the parade, both of which were cut out last year. The 2020 parade featured many local performers to cut back on national travel. The parade was also confined to one-block last year, while it normally stretches 2 ½ miles.
This year the 2021 parade featured three broadway performances from the musicals Six, Wicked and Moulin Rouge. The event also advertised for the upcoming Annie Live performance hosted by NBC. The Rockettes performed as well as singers including Nelly, Carrie Underwood, Jimmie Allen, Jon Batiste, Darren Criss and others. The parade ended as normal with the appearance of Santa Claus.
Although the parade was more open, they still enacted safety measures against the pandemic. According to NPR, “parade staffers and volunteers must be vaccinated against COVID-19 and wear masks, though some singers and performers can shed them.” The audience was encouraged to wear face coverings, but not required. Another attraction of the parade is the inflation of the balloons the night prior to Thanksgiving. This year this event was only open to those who have been vaccinated.
In the beginning of the month, New York City mandated all city workers to be vaccinated resulting in an increase of vaccination rates in the city. Currently 69% of New York City residents are fully vaccinated, according to NYC Health.
On November 21, days before the Macy’s Day Parade, a SUV drove through the Waukesha Christmas Parade, near Milwaukee, killing 6 people. The vehicle tore through the barricades harming around 60 more people. The driver responsible has been charged with intentional homicide. The Macy’s day parade takes extensive safety measures for the event. According to NPR, thousands of police officers are assigned to the event while “approximately 360,000 pounds (163,000 kilograms) of concrete barriers,” are used for the event.
The Macy’s Day Parade takes extreme caution during the event as the 2021 parade featured “about 8,000 participants, four dozen balloons of varying sizes and two dozen floats,” as well as many millions of spectators, according to NPR. “The 5.5 rating in 18-49 and 21.7 million viewers for the live broadcast are the best numbers for any entertainment telecast of 2021,” according to Deadline.