Macy’s 96th annual Thanksgiving Day Parade draws huge crowds

They’re a bunch of happy turkeys!

New Yorker’s lined the Big Apple’s streets bright and early Thursday, soaking up the sun and mild winter weather ahead the 96th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The quintessential Thanksgiving tradition kicked off on 77th and Central Park West at 9 a.m. to the cheers of spectators waiting to catch a glimpse of classic balloons like Snoopy and Pikachu — and some of this year’s new additions like Bluey.

Marisa Lau, a teacher celebrating her 40th birthday all the way from Sacramento, California, has wanted to view the parade in person since she was a little girl.

“This is a dream come true for me,” Lau, sporting a pair of turkey earrings, told The Post from her viewpoint at 53rd and Sixth.

“This is the best Thanksgiving for me. It’s going to be bigger and better than on TV. I can’t wait to wave, cheer and scream. It’s going to bring my inner child back,” the excited spectator said.

The quintessential Thanksgiving tradition kicked off on 77th and Central Park West at 9 a.m.
REUTERS
PARADE
New Yorkers woke up bright and early to see the parade.
REUTERS

The massive crowd has drawn in both New Yorkers and tourists looking to take part in a tradition that for many signals the official start of the holiday season — especially with Santa Claus set to make a special appearance and close out the event.

Children were yelling, screaming, waving and calling out the names of their favorite characters as they floated or drove by on parade floats. At one point the festive crowd began to do the wave.

“I want to see the Bluey balloon,” said Tsehai Burns, a 15-year-old from Flushing, Queens who was watching an episode of the show on her cellphone before the parade began.

The tenth grader, who has Crohn’s disease, recalled how the show inspired her when she was hospitalized from Halloween to Christmas Eve in 2019 with a lower intestine infection.

“I couldn’t eat. I was very skinny. I had to get surgery,” she said, adding that she is now in better health. Burns’ face lit up upon seeing her favorite character, Josh, standing on the float before the Bluey balloon.

“I shouted out his name. I wanted to take a selfie with him. He is my idol from when I was in the hospital. I had to get surgery and I watched him a lot. Josh helped me through my struggles in the hospital. Whenever I was sad, I watched Josh.”

Children and adults made up the large and lively crowd, both equally excited to bear witness to the parade.

Dawna Tsitrian, a substitute teacher from Rapid City, South Dakota, came with her daughter to celebrate her 80th birthday.

MACYS PARADE
“This is the best Thanksgiving for me. It’s going to be bigger and better than on TV. I can’t wait to wave, cheer and scream.” said watcher.
Getty Images for Macy’s, Inc.

“I’ve always wanted to come since the 60s when we had a TV. I started watching it on my black-and-white TV — it was a little TV — and now I’m experiencing it live,” the young at heart Tsitrian said. “I chose to come on my 80th because you gotta move and grove.”

Macy’s beloved parade was back last year after going virtual during the COVID pandemic.

This year’s parade will feature 16 giant character balloons, 28 floats, 40 novelty and heritage inflatables, 12 marching bands, 700 clowns, 10 performance groups and a slew of musical stars. The parade will be put on by the work of over 5,000 volunteers.

Some new balloons will hit New York City skies this year, including Bluey, a character from a popular Disney Junior cartoon about a 6-year-old Australian Heeler dog and her canine family.

Other new additions this year include “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” from the beloved children’s books; Dino and Baby Dino, an electric green pair of dinosaurs; and the one-eyed Minion, Stuart.

Returning balloons include “Astronaut Snoopy,” “The Boss Baby,” Chase from “Paw Patrol,” the Pillsburgy Doughboy, Ronald McDonald, Red Titan from “Ryan’s World,” Papa Smurf from “The Smurfs,” “Spongebob Squarepants” and Pikachu and Eevee from “Pokémon”.

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