Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 2020: Everything to know about Thursday’s event

Snoopy balloon with Woodstock at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Charlie Brown’s loyal pup, Snoopy, floats over the crowd at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
(Bryan R. Smith / Associated Press)

Thankfully, Macy’s has found a way to host its annual Thanksgiving Day Parade amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In order to avoid drawing crowds that usually flood the streets of New York City on the holiday, organizers have converted the event into a prerecorded telecast, which will be smaller in scale but still feature several parade staples, including floats, balloons, marching bands and celebrity appearances.

Here are all the details.

What time is the show, and where can I watch it?

High school band members, in costumes of swirling robes and lace jabots, carry streaming white flags.
Members of the Hendrickson High School band from Texas march on Central Park West during a recent Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
(Craig Ruttle / Associated Press)

Thursday’s made-for-TV presentation will air from 9 a.m. to noon across all time zones on NBC — and on the NBC website with a TV provider login.

Plus, a livestream of the festivities, hosted by “Saved by the Bell” star Mario Lopez, will be available from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. Pacific Time on Verizon’s Twitter and YouTube pages.

Who’s hosting?

Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie, holding microphones, stand alongside the Rockettes.
“Today” anchors Hoda Kotb, at center alongside Rockettes dancers, and Savannah Guthrie will cohost the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with colleague Al Roker.
(Charles Sykes / Invision)

“Today” anchors Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Al Roker will host the main broadcast on NBC.

Who’s performing?

Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton will perform at the 2020 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
(Jon Kopaloff / Getty Images)

After partially funding Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine with a $1-million donation to coronavirus research, Dolly Parton is coming to save Thanksgiving too.

Other 2020 parade participants include Santa Claus, Jimmy Fallon and the Roots, Sebastián Yatra, Pentatonix, Patti LaBelle, Noah Cyrus, Leslie Odom Jr., Keke Palmer, Karol G, Jordin Sparks and the New York City Ballet company.

Rounding out this year’s performers are:

  • AJR
  • Ally Brooke
  • Bebe Rexha
  • Brett Young
  • Camille Schrier
  • CNCO
  • Darlene Love
  • The Goo Goo Dolls
  • Lauren Alaina
  • Sofia Carson
  • Tori Kelly
  • Macy’s Clown U
  • City Tourist Clowns
  • Coney Island USA’s Mermaid Parade
  • Lesbian & Gay Big Apple Corps Marching Band
  • Band of the City of New York Police Department
  • Big Apple Circus
  • FDNY Emerald Society Pipes & Drums
  • National Puerto Rican Day Parade
  • West Indian American Day Carnival Association
  • West Point Band
  • Zeta Phi Beta Steppers

How will COVID affect things?

Amid skyscrapers, a Power Ranger balloon floats, dwarfing parade participants on the street.
A Power Rangers balloon floats during a previous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
(Alba Vigaray / EPA/Shutterstock)

The volume of this year’s parade participants has been reduced by about 75%. Additionally, participants must be at least 18 years old and live in the New York tri-state area.

Instead of the typical 2.5-mile parade route through the streets of New York, the festivities will be filmed exclusively in and around Midtown Manhattan’s Herald Square. The preceding balloon inflation ceremony has also been canceled to avoid drawing crowds.

Plus, performers are required to wear PPE and socially distance when necessary. Balloons — including SpongeBob and Snoopy — will still be part of the celebration thanks to new technology designed to operate them without the help of the 80-100 handlers usually necessary to bring them to life.

Dolly Parton, Patti LaBelle, Sebastián Yatra and the Broadway casts of ‘Hamilton’ and ‘Mean Girls’ to join this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.