Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Makes a Comeback, Adds Baby Yoda to Famed Balloon Lineup

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is returning this year looking more like normal, allowing viewers to line New York streets and balloon holders to participate after the pandemic limited the adorned celebration last year, the Associated Press reported.

Macy's on Monday announced the official route of the parade, which will include new balloons and floats such as a Grogu, also known as Baby Yoda balloon, Ada Twist, Scientist and the Pokémon characters Pikachu and Eevee balloons.

This year's parade is the 95th annual celebration and will feature 15 giant character balloons, 28 floats, 36 novelty and heritage inflatables, 10 marching bands, nine performance groups, celebrities, over 800 clowns and the grand finale: Santa Claus.

"For our 95th celebration, Macy's has created a spectacle to remember featuring a dazzling array of high-flying balloons, animated floats and incredible performers. We can't wait to help New York City and the nation kick off the holiday season with the return of this cherished tradition," said Will Coss, executive producer of the parade.

Visitors will also be allowed once again to see the balloons inflated the day before the parade, with proof of vaccination. Children under 12 may be accompanied by a vaccinated adult.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is returning this year looking more like normal, allowing viewers to line New York streets and balloon holders to participate after the pandemic limited the event last year. Above, revelers makes their way down the Avenue of the Americas in front of Radio City Music Hall during the 2019 parade in New York City. Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Associated Press

Broadway will be represented by the casts of Six, Moulin Rouge! The Musical and Wicked. The Rockettes will be there, as will the cast of the upcoming NBC live production of Annie.

There will be new floats led by the cast of Girls5eva—Sara Bareilles, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Paula Pell and Busy Philipps—Nelly and Jordan Fisher, while Jon Batiste will be on an alligator-themed float celebrating Louisiana's music, food and culture.

Other celebrities on hand include Carrie Underwood, Jimmie Allen, Kelly Rowland, Rob Thomas, Kristin Chenoweth, Darren Criss, Foreigner, Andy Grammer, Mickey Guyton, Chris Lane, Miss America Camille Schrier, Muppets from "Sesame Street" and the three past and current hosts of "Blue's Clues"—Steve Burns, Donovan Patton and Josh Dela Cruz.

Some of the returning balloons will be Astronaut Snoopy, The Boss Baby, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Chase from Paw Patrol, the Pillsbury Doughboy, Red Titan from Ryan's World, Papa Smurf from The Smurfs, Sonic the Hedgehog and SpongeBob SquarePants.

The Macy's parade has been a traditional holiday season kickoff and spectators often line up a half-dozen deep along the route to cheer about 8,000 marchers, two dozen floats, entertainers and marching bands.

Last year, the usual 2 1/2-mile route through crowded Manhattan was scrapped in favor of concentrating events to a one-block stretch of 34th Street in front of the retailer's flagship Manhattan store. Many performances were pre-taped and most of the parade's performers were locally based to cut down on travel. The balloons were tethered to specialized vehicles instead of being controlled by handlers.