CM – Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade returns with all the trimmings

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The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was hit by the coronavirus pandemic last year and returned fully on Thursday, albeit with precautionary measures.

Balloons, floats, marching bands, clowns and performers – and of course Santa Claus – whirled once again through the 4-kilometer-long streets of Manhattan, instead of limiting yourself to one block or sometimes being on the move last year.

Spectators who were closed in 2020 lined the route again. High school and college marching bands from across the country were invited back to the cast; Most of the artists last year were there to reduce travel. The giant balloons that were tied to vehicles last year have got their costumed handlers back.

For President Joe Biden, the full return of the parade was a sign of renewal, and he called NBC station Al Roker on-air to say so.

« We’re back after two years . America is back. There’s nothing we can’t overcome, « said Biden on the phone from Nantucket, Massachusetts, where he was watching the show with his family.

The Thanksgiving Parade is the latest US holiday event to make a comeback Vaccines, familiarity and sheer frustration made officials and some of the public more familiar with large gatherings amid the ongoing pandemic.

Nevertheless, the security measures were continued. Parade workers and volunteers had to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and wear masks, although some singers and performers were allowed to take them off. There was no compulsory vaccination for spectators, but Macy’s and the city encouraged them to cover their faces. A popular pre-parade spectacle – inflating the giant balloons – was restricted to vaccinated spectators.

The Thanksgiving event also took place days after an SUV driver plowed through a Christmas parade in suburban Milwaukee, killing six people and over 60 injured. Authorities said the driver, who was charged with willful homicide, sped away from police after a domestic argument.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday there was no credible, specific threat to the Thanksgiving Parade, however the New York Police Department security measures would be extensive, as usual.

« I am very confident of what the NYPD has prepared to protect everyone, » he said.

Thousands of police officers were assigned to the parade route, from the street to the roofs. Cars were blocked off the parade route with sand-filled garbage trucks, other heavy vehicles, and approximately 360,000 pounds (163,000 kilograms) of concrete barriers.

Bomb detection dogs, bomb squad officers, heavy weapons teams, radiation and chemical sensors, and over 300 additional cameras were also deployed on the parade route, said Martine Materasso, NYPD chief of terrorism.

Inside the barricades, around 8,000 participants took part in the parade, four dozen balloons of various sizes and two dozen floats.

The new balloon giants include the title character from the Netflix series « Ada Twist, Scientist »; the Pokémon characters Pikachu and Eevee on a sled (Pikachu has already appeared in a different form) and Grogu, aka « Baby Yoda », from the TV show « The Mandalorian ». New cars are coming from companies ranging from spice maker Heinz to NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service to the Louisiana Office of Tourism.

The entertainers and celebrities include Carrie Underwood, Jon Batiste, Nelly, Kelly Rowland, Miss America Camille Schrier, the band Foreigner and many others. Several Broadway musicals and the Radio City Rockettes also performed.

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