For nearly 100 years the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has been winding its way through New York City, serving as the unofficial kickoff to the holiday season. This year will mark the 92nd running of the whimsical American tradition, and the lineup features a number of country artists.
Here’s everything you need to know before the annual parade steps off.
How to watch: As in year’s past, the parade airs on NBC from 9:00 a.m to noon in all time zones. A big musical number will begin the broadcast, with Today show hosts Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Al Roker providing commentary. Viewers on the go can also watch on the official NBC website and the NBC app, and for the third year, NBC and Verizon have teamed up to present 360-degree video coverage on YouTube. CBS will also air “portions” of the parade, hosted by Entertainment Tonight’s Kevin Frazier and Keltie Knight.
Who’s performing: Five country artists are included in this year’s lineup, including Martina McBride (on the Balsam Hill float, which includes a three-story Christmas tree), Sugarland (Ocean Spray), Carly Pearce (Green Giant), Kane Brown (South Dakota Department of Tourism) and 15-year-old Tegan Marie (Girl Scouts of the USA). They’ll be joined by more than a dozen additional artists from several genres, including Kelly Clarkson, John Legend, Diana Ross, Barenaked Ladies and Ashley Tisdale, plus the Radio City Rockettes and the Broadway casts of Mean Girls, My Fair Lady, The Prom and Summer: The Donna Summer Musical.
Any new floats? There are 31 floats in all, and quite a few new ones. Kinder’s Fantasy Chocolate Factory will tempt the sweet tooth, a massive elephant will encourage travelers to book a vacation with Kalahari Resorts and Conventions, and the newly redesigned Tom Turkey will lead the float lineup, among other new creations. Meanwhile, a classic riverboat takes the term “float” in a different direction, King’s Hawaiian is rolling out a real waterfall and the Macy’s Singing Christmas Tree will be staffed by 100 harmonious employees.
What about the balloons? Due to some nasty weather predictions, there’s a real chance that the parade’s famous balloons might not get off the ground. With real-feel temps projected to hover around zero and winds expected to gust over 30 miles-per-hour, Charlie Brown, the Grinch, Frozen’s Olaf, Pikachu, the Pillsbury Doughboy, Ronald McDonald and others might have to walk. But the parade hasn’t been cancelled outright since 1971, and if organizers think they can keep spectators and crew safe, those balloons will take flight.
What if I’m really more of a Christmas person? You’re in luck. As always, Santa Claus will wrap up the parade with a bow, signaling the start of the 2018 Christmas season on the very last float of the procession.