For many Americans, no turkey day would be the same without the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The unofficial kickoff to the holiday season, 2017 marks the 91st anniversary of the family-friendly tradition, and this year’s lineup features a number of country artists.
Longtime Nashville favorites and promising newcomers alike will be joining the usual cavalcade of pop stars, enormous balloons and spectacular floats winding through New York City, making this parade one that shouldn’t be missed.
Here’s everything you need to know before the 2017 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
How to Watch: This year’s parade airs on NBC from 9 a.m. – Noon in all time zones. The show begins with a star-studded dance number before Today‘s Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie and Al Roker take over hosting duties. Telemundo will simulcast the whole event in Spanish.
Who’s Performing? Four country stars will be featured this year, including Lauren Alaina (on the Green Giant float), Cam (Domino Sugar), Sara Evans (Entenmann’s) and Dustin Lynch (KFC). They’ll join pop stars like Gwen Stefani (who’s singing “White Christmas” at the Bryant Park ice rink), 98 Degrees, Andra Day & Common, Jimmy Fallon & the Roots, Flo Rida, Goo Goo Dolls, Wyclef Jean, Smokey Robinson, Bebe Rexha and more. And don’t forget the marching bands and dance groups who come from all over the country.
Which Float Will Be the Craziest? Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade floats are known for being massive and over-the-top, so there will be plenty to look at this year. Gibson Guitars will have one featuring a huge version of their signature Les Paul, while the people of South Dakota have reproduced Mount Rushmore in hopes of inspiring a visit. Meanwhile, an actual Green Giant will tower over a peaceful landscape of farms.
How About the Balloons? The balloons are often even bigger than the floats, often multiple stories high and wrangled by up to 100 volunteers. Along with returning favorites like Charlie Brown, the Pillsbury Doughboy and Spongebob Squarepants, 2017 will feature four new characters: Frozen‘s Olaf, Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch, PAW Patrol and Jett from Super Wings. Plus whatever Balloonicles, Balloonheads and Trycalloons are.
Will Santa Be There? Of course he will. Santa is always the parade’s very last participant, signaling the start of the Christmas season.