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Macys Parade is back this Thanksgiving, with no kids on floats

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As the the coronavirus surged in New York last year, the typical Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade marching band was reduced: the road was reduced to one block, the number of participants was reduced by several thousand people, and the public was invited to stay at home.

It could hardly be called a parade. There was not so much a procession as a series of parades on the track for the television cameras. The show was filmed over three days and edited to give the impression of a continuous three-hour program.

This year, the city reporting that more than 80 percent of adults are fully vaccinated, the parade is expected to return with all its helium-filled pump and corporate branded holiday cheer with an asterisk: Children under 12 will not be allowed to participate in the parade itself. They will, however, be allowed as spectators along the two and a half mile parade route, as well as during the ballooning ceremony. Wednesday afternoon around the American Museum of Natural History.

Their absence is slightly odd in an event whose stars include Pikachu, SpongeBob SquarePants and Papa Smurf. Typically, these would be children riding a chariot that appears to be made of Legos, or accompanying the chariot of the Green Giants, dressed in flowers and pumpkins.

But this year, the 95th Macys Parade is not entirely typical. Macys announced in september that everyone participating in the parade must be vaccinated. It wasn’t until about three weeks before Thanksgiving that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officially approved the Pfizer-BioNTechs coronavirus vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. Attending the parade as a spectator has no vaccination requirements, and children under 12 can see the balloon inflating on the Upper West Side if they leave with a fully vaccinated adult.

In order to plan costumes and other logistics, parade organizers needed to know early on who would be getting on the floats, said Will Coss, the event’s executive producer.

We had to make some decisions long before our parade day to ensure the health and safety of all participants, Coss said. Unfortunately, we were not able to have this specific contingent of young children.

In years past, that contingent typically consisted of less than 200 children, some as young as 7, who are linked to Macys employees and parade volunteers, Coss said.

Two years ago, some of these children waved from the back of a bright pink jeweled car pulled by a Tyrannosaurus rex or danced energetically on a Sour Patch Kids brand float, while others had looked shyly at the crowd as Ciara played alongside Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

This year, young people waving floats will be vaccinated pre-teens and teens so viewers may expect less pure joy and wonder, but parade organizers maintain the change is minor in a year. where the live program and the meticulously choreographed fanfare are rear.

That same youthful spirit is still a part of this year’s show, said Wesley Whatley, the runway’s creative producer.

After last year, its ranks have for the most part been replenished.

Approximately 6,500 people will work on the parade, less than the normal 8,000, but far more than the last 960 years. The number of giant balloons is down to 15 and tanks to 28, roughly where it was two years ago, after a reduction last year. And 10 bands, many of whom were barred from traveling from their high schools and colleges across the country last time around, will fill the streets.

The wait has been long for the musicians, who learned in the spring of 2019 that they would be performing in Manhattan.

We jumped, screamed and hugged each other, said Zoe Huntoon, a mellophonist from Frankfort, Ill., Who was in second grade at the time. Then in 2020, we slowly realized that this was not going to be possible.

But this week, Huntoon, who is now a senior, and about 200 members of the group will board charter buses for the long drive to New York City.

While the majority of the procession and performances are live, part of the show will be pre-recorded, as it does every year, Whatley said.

On Thanksgiving morning, Broadway performers will be back on 34th Street to entertain audiences with songs from Six, Moulin Rouge! The musical and villainous. Last year, these performances were filmed without encouraging the bundled up fans.

The televised parade, which kicks off at 9 a.m. on NBC, Telemundo and Peacock, will feature the Rockettes, Carrie Underwood, Mickey Guyton, Kristin Chenoweth, Jon Batiste and Nelly. (Unless they are singing, performers should be masked.)

Among the youngest participants will be the Hispnicos School of Dance Ballet, the Young Peoples Chorus of NYC and a group of competitive rope jumpers who will make the entire parade course their playground.

A contingent of parade volunteers are especially stunned by the relaxed restrictions: handlers driving balloons like the 43-foot-long Snoopy on Sixth Avenue. Last year most of this work was carried out by a utility vehicle training.

Hot air balloon volunteer Teresa Kruszewski got involved in the parade in 2008, after someone she met as part of the jury helped her land the role. Kruszewski, 60, after missing last year’s parade, returns as the pilot of a new balloon, the main character of Ada Twist, scientist, a Netflix children’s show. Kruszewski said at first she feared her gap year left her rusty, but when she walked into the Citi Field parking lot to test the ball, her muscle memory kicked in.

It’s like riding a bicycle, she says. Once I’m behind the ball and I have handlers around me and whistles go off, he comes back.

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2/ https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/22/arts/macys-parade-thanksgiving-2021.html

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