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Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade Returns, But Security Continues


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Police walk past Grogu’s inflated helium balloon, also known as Baby Yoda, from Star Wars The Mandalorian on Wednesday in New York City as the balloon prepares for the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade on Thursday.

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Ted Shaffrey / AP


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Ted Shaffrey / AP

Police walk past Grogu’s inflated helium balloon, also known as Baby Yoda, from Star Wars The Mandalorian on Wednesday in New York City as the balloon prepares for the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade on Thursday.

Ted Shaffrey / AP

Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, gripped by the coronavirus pandemic last year, returns on Thursday in full, albeit with precautions.

Balloons, floats, bands, clowns and performers. – and of course Santa Claus – will walk 2 1/2 miles through the streets of Manhattan again, instead of being limited to one block or sometimes pre-recorded last year… The parade will begin at 9 am ET.

Spectators closed in 2020 can level the route again. Ensembles from schools and colleges from all over the country were again invited to the lineup; most of last year’s performers were local to cut travel. Giant balloons, tethered to vehicles last year, are returning their costumed handlers.

“The past year was clearly symbolic. That was not all we wanted to see in the parade, but they continued it, ”Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a briefing on Wednesday. “The parade is back in full force this year.”

“This will be a great sign of our rebirth,” he added.

The Thanksgiving Parade is the latest US festive event to make a comeback as vaccines, familiarity, and sheer disappointment have made officials and parts of the public more comfortable holding large gatherings amid the ongoing pandemic.

However, security measures continue. Parade staff and volunteers need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and wear masksthough some singers and performers can get rid of them. Spectators do not need to be vaccinated, but Macy’s recommends covering their faces. The popular pre-parade spectacle – the inflating of giant balloons – was available only to vaccinated spectators.

Thanksgiving also comes a few days after the SUV driver walked through a Christmas parade in the suburbs of Milwaukeeby killing six people and injuries over 60… Authorities stated that the driver who was charged with premeditated murder, ran away from the police after a family quarrel.

De Blasio said Wednesday there was no real specific threat to the Thanksgiving parade, but NYPD security measures will be extensive as usual.

“I am very confident that the NYPD has prepared for everyone to be safe tomorrow,” he said.

Thousands of police officers head for the parade march from streets to rooftops. Cars are blocked off the parade route by sand-filled garbage trucks, other heavy equipment and an estimated 360,000 pounds (163,000 kg) of concrete barriers.

Bomb detection dogs, bomb squad officers, heavy weapons teams, radiation and chemical sensors and more than 300 additional cameras are also sent along the parade route, according to Martina Materasso, chief of the New York Police Department of Counterterrorism.

Inside the barricades, about 8,000 participants take part in the parade, four dozen balloons of different sizes and two dozen floats.

New balloon giants joining the lineup include the title character from Netflix’s Ada Twist the Scientist; Pokémon characters Pikachu and Eevee on a sleigh (Pikachu appeared earlier in a different form) and Grogu, also known as “Baby Yoda,” from the TV show The Mandalorian. The new floats are coming in from a variety of organizations, from condiment maker Heinz to NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service and the Louisiana Tourism Authority.

Artists and celebrities include Carrie Underwood, John Baptiste, Nelly, Kelly Rowland, Miss America Camilla Schrier, Foreigner and many others. Several Broadway musicals and the Radio City Rockettes are also due to perform.

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