NEW YORK (AP) — Giant balloons once again wafted through miles of Manhattan, wrangled by costumed handlers. The national high school and college marching bands were also back. Macy’sThanksgiving Day Parade
The holiday tradition was shattered by last year’s coronavirus pandemic, but it returned full-throttle on Thursday with some precautions.
“It really made Thanksgiving feel very festive and full of life,” Sierra Guardiola, a 23-year-old interior design firm assistant, said after watching the spectacle in a turkey-shaped hat.
Thousands of marchers, hundreds of clowns, dozens of balloons and floats — and, of course, Santa Claus — marked the latest U.S. holiday event to make a comeback as vaccines, familiarity and sheer frustration made officials and some of the public more comfortable with big gatherings amid the ongoing pandemic.
To President Joe Biden, the parade’s full-fledged return was a sign of renewal, and he called NBC broadcaster Al Roker on-air to say so.
“After two years, we’re back. America is back. There’s nothing we’re unable to overcome,” Biden said over the phone from Nantucket, Massachusetts, where he was watching the broadcast with his family.
Safety measures were not abandoned. Safety measures were not abandoned by volunteers and staff at parades. be vaccinated against COVID-19 and wear masksHowever, some performers and singers were permitted to remove them. There was no inoculation requirement for spectators, but Macy’s and the city encouraged them to cover their faces.
Asahi Pompey said she made a point of getting her vaccine booster shot Wednesday and wore a mask while in the crowd, but COVID-19 concerns couldn’t keep her away.
“It feels really phenomenal to be here. It feels like New York is on its way to recovery,” said Pompey, 49, a lawyer.
“It’s like the whole spirit of New York has come and gathered so we can be together,” added her school-age son, Sebastian Pompey-Schoelkopf.
Last Thanksgiving, with no vaccines available and the virus beginning a winter surge in the nation’s biggest city, the parade was confined to one block and sometimes pre-taped. To cut down travel costs, most performers were local. The giant balloons were also tethered instead of being operated by volunteers. There were no spectators.
Getting to watch the nearly century-old parade this year on the street, instead of a screen, was “incredible” for Katie Koth. This 26-year old teacher attended the event for only the second time.
“The energy is crazy, and the crowd was amazing,” she said.
It happened days following an accident involving an SUV driver. plowed through a Christmas parade in suburban MilwaukeeSix people were killed in the attack. injuring over 60. According to authorities, the driver was charged with intentional homicideFollowing a domestic conflict, she was seen running away from police.
The Mayor Bill de Blasio claimed Wednesday that the Thanksgiving parade was safe, although security measures were extensive. The parade was surrounded by thousands of police officers as well as concrete barriers, concrete garbage trucks, and concrete blocks blocking the route. There were also bomb-detecting dogs and heavy-weapons teams. Radiation and chemical sensors were used, as well, and more than 300 cameras.
Inside the barricades, new balloon giants joined the lineup, including the title character from the Netflix series “Ada Twist, Scientist”; the Pokémon characters Pikachu and Eevee on a sled (Pikachu has appeared before, in different form), and Grogu, aka “Baby Yoda,” from the television show “The Mandalorian.” New floats came from entities ranging from condiment maker Heinz to NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service to the Louisiana Office of Tourism.
Some of the celebrities and entertainers were Carrie Underwood (Jon Batiste), Nelly, Kelly Rowland Miss America Camille Schrier and Foreigner. Numerous Broadway musical ensembles performed, as well as the Radio City Rockettes.
Sloan Brown, 6, took it all in from a sidewalk and summed up the experience in a word: “Cool.”
See more parade photos below: