Beloved characters like Snoopy and SpongeBob SquarePants took to the skies over New York City on Thursday and bands marched through the streets as the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade marked the start of the holiday season.
The parade began on Manhattan’s Upper West Side and moved along Central Park in front of large crowds and a national television audience before end in front of the Macy’s flagship store on 34th Street.
Among the big names performing is Cher, who just released her first Christmas album. The Oscar, Emmy and Grammy winner has a privileged place: perform just before Santa’s arrival, which marks the end of the parade.
Other celebrities and music groups participating include Jon Batiste, Bell Biv DeVoe, Brandy, Jessie James Decker, Pentatonix and Miss America 2023 Grace Stanke. The parade also includes performances by the casts of some Broadway shows.
New balloons debuting this year include Leo the Lizard, a character from a Netflix movie, who stands more than 40 feet (12.5 meters) tall, as well as others who have been there before, like SpongeBob SquarePants, who reaches 44 feet (13.4 meters).
Some characters, like Snoopy, have been in the parade for many years, but this year’s balloon is a new version of Beagle Scout Snoopy, celebrating the 50th anniversary from his first appearance in the Peanuts comics.
However, the parade is not just about what happens in the skies. At street level, the procession includes more than two dozen floats, interspersed with marching bands from around the country and several groups of clowns among the 8,000 people participating, organizers said.
Thousands of people lined the streets wearing coats on a cold, sunny morning. Children rode on their parents’ shoulders, shouting as characters passed by.Like Bluey and Big Bird from Sesame Street.
This is the 97th time the parade has been held since 1924.
The broadcast is hosted by “Today”’s Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Al Roker and airs on NBC.
President Joe Biden and his wife Jill called into NBC during the parade. The president told Al Roker that people should take a moment to be grateful for living in a country with so many things.
“We are the greatest nation in the world. We should focus on that. “We should focus on facing our problems and stopping the rancor,” Biden said.
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