Here's Everything You Need to Know About the 2021 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Get ready to feast your eyes!

The annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is almost here and ready to bring holiday cheer as it takes to the streets of New York City on Nov. 25 celebrating its 95th year.

Commonly recognized as the official kickoff of the holiday season, the parade draws in millions of viewers from all over the world, whether it's being watched on TV or live in person. Following Macy's decision last year to nix live spectators and reduce the size of the parade due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company announced its annual festivities will resume in a bigger and better way come Turkey Day.

"It's back, and we're excited to bring it back to the streets of New York City in its full form, in the way that audiences have grown to know and love us," said parade executive producer Will Coss in a statement. "It's going to be a celebration of spectacle, a celebration of performance, a celebration of culture, a celebration of love. It's going to be a really exciting day, and we're really just elated to have the opportunity to bring it back in its true form."

93rd Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
93rd Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Theo Wargo/Getty Images

New balloons will take flight, along with decked-out floats and a stacked lineup of celebrity artists, Broadway favorites, marching bands, and more magical performances are in store for this year. "We've got a full show: 10 marching bands, 15 giant character balloons, 28 floats, 30-plus heritage balloons, and a whole host of performances," Coss told Today.

There's a tremendous amount of time and dedication that's added to every detail of the Thanksgiving Day Parade. Thanks to the talented Macy's Parade Studio team, who commit over 50,000 hours of labor to prepare, we're presented with a spectacular city sight come Thanksgiving morning.

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Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Ralph Bavaro/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty

The team is comprised of approximately 30 members made up of painters, carpenters, animators, other experts who work year-round to create the magic. (Fun fact: 300 pounds of glitter is sprinkled on costumes, floats, and more.)

Since the first Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1925, Macy's has always been dedicated to giving back to the community through different charities, organizations, and events. The Macy's Day Parade marks its "single biggest volunteer event, with over 4,500 dedicated volunteers bringing the Parade to life each and every year," according to the company's site.

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Keep scrolling for everything you need to know about the 2021 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, including who's performing, how to watch, and everything in between.

How do you watch Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade?

If you plan to watch the parade from the comfort of your home, there are multiple virtual options. The parade begins at 9 a.m. in every time zone on NBC and ends at noon. The three-hour broadcast, hosted by Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, and Al Roker, will also rerun from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. in every time zone.

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Al Roker, Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb
Al Roker, Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb

Eric Liebowitz/NBC

The event will also be streamable on Peacock and available to watch at your own leisure.

What's the route of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade?

The parade spans 2.5 miles along the streets of Manhattan, kicking off on West 77th Street & Central Park West. It continues south on Central Park West down to Columbus Circle, then heads east on West 59th Street. The route turns south on Sixth Avenue to 34th Street and ends outside Macy's flagship store.

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93rd Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
93rd Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Kena Betancur/Getty Images

If you plan on venturing in to experience the parade in person, there are specific guidelines on where you can and can't stand while watching. According to the official Macy's parade website, the west side of Central Park West from West 75th to West 61st Streets are some of the best views. Additionally, viewing is great from West 59th to West 38th Streets.

No public viewing is allowed in the telecast area on 6th Avenue from West 34th to West 38th Streets, and on West 34th Street between Broadway & 7th Avenue. Public viewing is also prohibited in Columbus Circle. There's limited public viewing on the south side of West 34th Street between Broadway & 7th Avenue.

Who's performing at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade?

There's an exciting lineup of musical guests slated to perform during this year's parade. Highlighted artists include Carrie Underwood, Kim Petras, Kristin Chenoweth, Darren Criss, Busy Philipps, Chris Lane, Andy Grammer, Nelly, Kelly Rowland, and Peacock's Girls5eva cast.

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Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Peter Kramer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

In addition to the star-studded roster, performances by the Big Apple Circus and the iconic Radio City Rockettes will return to the streets. Joining them are performances by Broadway hit-shows such as SIX, Moulin Rouge!, and Wicked.

For a complete list of performers taking part in the parade, check out the official parade website.

What are the new balloons at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade?

Along with returning favorites such as Snoopy, SpongeBob SquarePants, and the Pillsbury Doughboy, there will be a total of four new balloons ready to take flight for this year's parade. The first is Grogu (AKA, Baby Yoda from The Mandalorian) which is a Funko Pop!-inspired balloon. The second features both Pikachu and Eevee in honor of the Pokemon's 25th anniversary.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Getty (4)

The third new balloon to fly high in the sky is a giant Ada Twist from the book and Netflix series Ada Twist, Scientist. For the last new balloon, we can confidently say that "We're lovin' it," because a new version of McDonald's Ronald McDonald will join the balloon bunch this Thanksgiving. This will be the fifth rendition of Ronald since he first appeared during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1987.

What are the new floats at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade?

Macy's unveiled a total of six new floats this year, including a Heinz Gravy Pirate boat "floalloonicle," which according to executive producer Coss, is "part float, part 'balloonicle' (balloon-vehicle)." It has a typical float-like structure for the interior and stage, but the actual pirate ship itself is a balloon.

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Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images

Wheels will be up for NBC's peacock float, in honor of their streaming platform, Peacock. The float doubles as a stage and marks the parade's first-ever livestream with two cameras to give a bird's-eye view of the festivities. A new Mardi Gras float joins the scene, plus Kalahari's float featuring a family of elephants designed by a South African artist.

Who gets to be in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade?

In addition to the celebrity acts, notable performances – and Santa, of course – there are approximately 4,500 volunteers that act as clowns, balloon handlers, float escorts, and more.

In fact, Macy's colleagues were the first to start the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade in 1924 as a new holiday tradition. Parade Executive Producer Coss tells PEOPLE that "colleagues, along with their friends and families, make up the thousands of volunteers that create the holiday celebration we see today." He adds, "Everyone in our iconic line of march has a connection to the company or one of our colleagues. We are proud and honored to carry on this tradition."

When's Macy's Balloon Inflation Celebration?

The night before Thanksgiving, guests are welcome to get a glimpse of the balloons being blown up in preparation for the big event. The inflation begins at noon and runs until 6:00 p.m. ET outside of the Museum of Natural History (between West 77th & West 81st Streets).

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Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

John Lamparski/Getty Images

Guests over the age of 12 will be required to show proof of vaccination and proof of ID before entering West 72nd Street & Columbus Avenue. Children under 12 must be accompanied by a vaccinated adult in order to attend the inflation. The viewing line will exit on West 81st Street & Central Park West.

Social distancing is encouraged and masks are required at all times, according to the official Macy's guidelines.