Balloons fly through New York for Thanksgiving Parade

Photo courtesy of S. Pakhrin, Flickr

To kick off the holiday season, Macy’s held their 91st parade that took over Macy’s Herald Square last Thursday. The parade, however, came right after a recent terrorist attack in lower Manhattan, calling for a high police presence before, during and after the event.

“We will have a very forceful NYPD presence and there are currently no credible or specific threats against the city,” said New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio in a news conference.

The high police presence didn’t stop the parade from taking over New York City’s streets, though.

The Macy’s parade was first established in 1924 and more than 250,000 people attended. This year over 3.5 million people attended the parade. NBC first broadcasted the parade in 1952, and the network has aired it annually since then. Each year, NBC parade coverage opens with sneak previews of New York City’s latest Broadway musicals.

NBC triumphed CBS in the Broadway line up because the cast of the Broadway musical “Dear Evan Hansen” performed for the NBC parade coverage along with other Broadway musicals “Anastasia,” “SpongeBob SquarePants: the Broadway Musical” and “Once on This Island.”   

Ramapo College alumni Ally O’Brien is no stranger to Broadway shows.

“I thought all the shows performed incredibly well, especially the two Ahrens and Flaherty shows (“Once on This Island” and “Anastasia”) for really going out of the box with some cool medleys,” said O’Brien.

CBS was able to broadcast “Come from Away” and “Waitress” performances. Interestingly “Waitress” has performed for NBC, but the new Broadway musical “Come from Away” hasn’t yet.

Besides the sneak preview of Broadway shows, there were also balloons and floats. A total of 17 balloons, 13 novelty balloons, 6 performance groups, 12 marching bands and 22 performers were in attendance. Among the balloons were Olaf from “Frozen,” Pillsbury Dough Boy, Angry Birds, Hello Kitty, SpongeBob SquarePants, Charlie Brown and many more. The iconic balloon from “Miracle on 34th Street” was there, as well as Harold the Baseball player who had a 12 foot glove and was celebrating its 70th anniversary of appearing in the parade.

Besides the balloons there were the performers.The parade opened with “Dancing in the Streets,” an all-star ensemble which consisted of singer Harry Connick Jr., actress and “The View” moderator Whoopi Goldberg, “Today Show” fourth hour hosts Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee, “This is Us” actress Chrissy Metz, “Stranger Things” actor Gaten Matarazzo and many more. 

Among the performers were “American Idol” Season 10 runner up Lauren Alaina, Tony award winning actor Leslie Odom Jr. who performed as Aaron Burr in the Broadway musical “Hamilton,” “The Voice” coach Gwen Stefani as well as others.

This year Macy’s also offered a 360 experience of the parade on YouTube.

After another successful parade, Macy’s Parade Press reported more than 50 Million viewers watched the parade on television.