There’s no better way to kick off the New York holiday season than with the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade — and this year’s event boasts a mouthwatering lineup of special performances, with guests ranging from musical legend Dionne Warwick to Lea Michele and the Broadway cast of Funny Girl

Paula Adbul and Dionne Warwick star in Macy's Thanksgiving celebrations
Paula Adbul and Dionne Warwick star in Macy’s Thanksgiving celebrations. Photo composite: Gary Hershorn, Alison Martin & Montclair Film.

The department store’s 96th annual parade — which kicks off from Central Park West and W77th Street on Thursday November 24 at 9am — will reach over 25 million TV viewers and showcase more than 5,000 volunteers, more than 700 clowns, 40 large-scale inflatables, 28 floats, 16 giant character balloons, 12 marching bands and 10 performance groups from select high schools and colleges around the nation in the three-hour celebration. For West Siders looking to join in the fun in person, the closest vantage points are the parade’s turn through Columbus Circle to Central Park South and its conclusion at the Macy’s W34th Street flagship location. 

Headlining this year’s performances are Grammy Hall of Fame inductee Dionne Warwick – also behind Twitter’s Most Hilarious Account, pop icon and former American Idol judge Paula Abdul, American Idol star Jordin Sparks, rock band Big Time Rush, late night host Jimmy Fallon and home band The Roots, singer-songwriters Betty Who and Joss Stone, New Orleans sensation Trombone Shorty, Saved by the Bell’s Mario Lopez, the cast of Sesame Street and the much-beloved Radio City Rockettes. 

In the grand tradition of the holiday parade, the celebration will commence with excerpts from several Broadway shows, including Lea Michele and the cast of Funny Girl, the soon-to-open adaptation of Some Like it Hot and Neil Diamond biopic A Beautiful Noise, as well as the 25th anniversary celebration of Disney’s The Lion King

New balloons include Bluey, Diary of A Wimpy Kid, DINO and Baby DINO and Stuart the Minion in addition to previous fan favorites like Ada Twist, Scientist, Astronaut Snoopy, The Boss Baby, Goku, Chase from Paw Patrol, the Pillsbury Doughboy, Red Titan from Ryan’s World, Ronald McDonald,  Papa Smurf from The Smurfs,  Pikachu and SpongeBob SquarePants & Gary.

“Since its first march in 1924 and through the decades, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has served to bring joy to the millions who gather nationwide each year to experience it with friends and family,” said Will Coss, Executive Producer of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in a statement. “This November, as we once again set the stage for the start of the holiday season, we are thrilled to showcase another spectacle full of magic and wonder that will help create everlasting memories with loved ones during this special time of year.”

Get ready for the Thanksgiving Turkey Gary Hershorn
Get ready for the Thanksgiving turkey at Macy’s celebrations this year. Photo: Gary Hershorn

If you make it to the end of the show, be sure to look out for a finale appearance by Santa Claus himself, perhaps on his way to a month-long shift greeting children at Macy’s own Santaland. And to all a good holiday shopping season!!

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