The final parade of the year is always the best one. Millions of fans lined up early along the parade route to catch a glimpse of the giant character balloons, celebrities, floats, great marching bands and hundreds of clowns. Macy’s has put on a show of shows for the last 90 years every Thanksgiving Day and this year’s theme was going back in time with one of the original balloons, Felix the Cat. This year, the weather held up great with little wind to speak of and the expected light showers held off just until Santa Claus made his grand entrance at Herald Square. Folks come from all corners of the world to march and perform on the great stage where millions of viewers watch the unique American holiday.
Kicking things off was the lead band from West Virginia University with blue yellow and white uniforms. This parade is famous for its ensemble of great marching bands from all across the country. Fans were not disappointed with the tight precision and crisp sound from all the marching bands. Hard to tell which ones were on the top tier…they were all excellent. The first of the big balloons floating his way down 6th Ave. was Charlie Brown. Snoopy was in the doghouse this year but Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang got all the kids riled up for a great day of fun. Sesame Street and Company had a great float as always but the Oscar the Grouch was rude to me and slammed the garbage lid on me while taking his picture. Two of the largest balloons arrived with Thomas the Train tooting his horn and Ronald McDonald greeting all the kids. The next marching band hailed from Florida in the Newsome Marching Band. They were all pumped up to be at the parade.
Giant balloons of the Paddington Bear and the Red Power Ranger made all the kids from 95 to 5 all go wow at how big they were. Power Rangers arm alone is the size of a school bus. They were followed by the Cary Indiana High School Marching Band. All throughout the parade, hundreds of clowns greet the viewers and wish them all a Happy Thanksgiving. It really is the largest collection of clowns for any event..except maybe for Congress. One of the grown up marching bands always leaves a great impression mostly because of their uniform is the West Point Academy Marching Band. They were sharp. But on the other end of the spectrum was the fun Hawaii All State Marching Band. They were having lots of fun and played great. One of the newest giant balloons made its premier. The Trolls balloons were amazing with a colorful display. They were followed by the international section with groups from China and Armenia with their colorful costumes and energetic dancing.
Drumlines always make for a great marching band and the better ones were from Grain Valley in Missouri, the Prospect Marching Knights from Illinois, Hendrickson Hawks from Texas, and a slight edge going to the Greendale Marching Band from Wisconsin. They really had a strong drumline. Once the giant Spongebob Squarepants float arrived, the parade switched gears from Thanksgiving themed floats to Christmas floats. A few of the better ones were with singer Sarah Mclachlan and the three level floats with the Elf on the Shelf balloon carefully watching over them. Of course, it’s always great to see a living legend wish all his fans a Happy Thanksgiving. Tony Bennett waved to everyone as he passed by. Then the big moment finally arrived as the three floating elves let everyone know Mr. and Mrs. Claus were right behind them. To watch the eyes shine from all the kids and adults is one of the best things about this parade.
This year had some of the best parades the city has seen. From freezing weather in the Chinese Lunar New Year to St. Patrick’s Day to the Greek Independence to the sizzling hot Mermaid and the Puerto Rican Day Parades to the West Indian and Hispanic Day Parades to the chilly Halloween and Veterans and Thanksgiving Day Parade….this was an amazing year for parades. Thank you for all the marchers and revelers in making this all possible. Thank you NYPD and FDNY for protecting us and responding to any emergencies. Thank you all parade organizers for your endless work in making these events a pleasure and an honor to be a part of. And thank you, the reader and viewer for taking a small part of your day to see what really makes America great.
Happy Thanksgiving..Merry Christmas…and See You in the New Year.