Debbie Lord, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade has signaled the start of the holiday season for nearly 100 years. It draws 3 million people in person in New York City, and more than 50 million on television.
There are stars who sing and dance, marching bands and balloons. Big balloons.
This year’s version of the parade is set to go off Thursday in New York City with a cast of more than 8,000.
Here’s what you need to know about this year’s parade.
What time does it start?
9 a.m. ET. It is scheduled to last until noon.
What channel is it on?
The parade is broadcast on NBC.
How long is the parade route?
What is the parade route?
The parade begins at 77th Street and Central Park West in Manhattan. It moves south on Central Park West, and at Columbus Circle, it turns east onto Central Park South. When the parade reaches 6th Avenue, it turns south on to 34th Street. At 34th Street it turns west to Macy's Herald Square and ends at 34th Street and Seventh Avenue.
When was the first Macy's Thanksgiving day parade?
The first parade was held on Christmas in 1924.
Which balloons will we see this year?
Angry Birds’ Red
Ice Age’s Scrat and his Acorn
Red Mighty Morphin Power Ranger
Pillsbury the Doughboy
The Elf on the Shelf
Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Super Wings’ Jett
Paw Patrol’s Chase
Charlie, Kit & C.J. Holiday Elves
Harold the Policeman
Harold the Baseball Player
Rex the Happy Dragon
Cloe the Clown
Christmas String of Lights
Red and Gold Macy’s Star
What about the floats?
There will be 31 floats in the parade.
Who is performing?
Goo Goo Dolls
The Radio City Rockettes
Miss America Cara Mund
Leslie Odom Jr.
There are 12 marching bands in the parade. They are:
Nation Ford High School Band
West Harrison High School
NYPD Marching Band
U.S. Air Force
Colony High School Band
Ohio University Marching Band
Rockford High School Marching Band
Macy’s Great American Marching Band
Prairie View A&M Marching Storm
Rosemount High School Marching Band
Davis High School Marching Band
Trumbull High School
According to the New York Tourist Commission, the inaugural Macy's Day Parade took place on Christmas 1924 and had an audience of 250,000 people. There were no giant balloons until 1927 when Felix the Cat showed up. The parade was first broadcast on radio in 1932.
The balloons are filled with 12,000 cubic feet of helium. They are inflated the day before Thanksgiving at the American Museum of National History from 3 p.m. -10 p.m.
On average, 300 bands a year apply for the 12 slots in the parade
Those handling the balloons, 30 to 100 of them for each balloon, are volunteers.