NEW YORK - Since 1924, the employees of Macy’s Department store have been putting on a Thanksgiving Day parade that takes place in the streets of New York City. This annual event has ballooned into a national celebration that, to many, marks the official start of the holiday season.

“We can look at a parade and say, oh, it's just a parade, but I think it's more than, and that's why I think we're so passionate this year of keeping the tradition alive,” said Wesley Whatley, creative producer of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

What You Need To Know

  • For nearly 100 years, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade has been a time honored tradition for both New Yorkers, and families around the country

  • The parade will still go on, but it's going to be a little different this year, due to safety concerns caused by the coronavirus pandemic

  • NY1’s On Stage Host Frank DiLella has a little taste of what to expect

“We are pushing for this tradition so that when you wake up Thanksgiving morning, you know what to do, you can turn on, you can rely on us for a little bit of fun entertainment and some relief to what's been going on,” said Susan Tercero the Executive Producer of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

“The fact that we are able to do this is incredible. It's remarkable. And we know that we're going to pull it off and we're going to keep pulling it off and pushing it forward every year hereafter,” said Rick Pomer, creative director of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

In a normal year, its 2.5 mile route, also known as the world’s longest stage, would be lined with 3.5 million spectators. But like so many things in 2020, modifications have to be made in order for this American classic to safely continue.

“This year's parade is certainly going to be different, but it's going to feel familiar to a lot of people. Since safety is our top priority. We limited our participation rates overall for the parade to, about 30% of what we would normally have,” said Tercero.

Ordinarily, the massive balloons are publicly inflated for the enjoyment of around one million New Yorkers, just north of the parade’s normal starting line at the Natural History Museum.

This year, to discourage onlookers from gathering, the public inflation won’t be happening, and the parade itself will be starting just blocks from the iconic department store on 34th street.

“As we've seen year after year, no matter what happens, New York City especially, is this very strong community of survivors of people who can get through just about anything. And I think this parade is also a symbol of that,” concluded Tercero.

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story misspelled Wesley Whatley’s name. It’s Whatley, not Whately.