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89th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade ushers in season with nation's favorite holiday event on NBC

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Mon, Nov 2nd 2015 11:10 am
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Parade airs live at 9 a.m.-noon (all time zones)

America's favorite holiday tradition will once again kick off the season of joy as the 89th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade returns to march down the streets of New York on Thursday, Nov. 26 (9 a.m.-noon in all time zones.) Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie and Al Roker of NBC's "Today" will anchor the broadcast.

As millions celebrate the holiday with family and friends, more than 8,000 participants - including clowns, balloon handlers and marching bands - will travel through Manhattan to the sound of the iconic catchphrase "Let's Have a Parade." With more than 3.5 million spectators and over 50 million television viewers nationwide, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is the nation's most celebrated and anticipated holiday treat.

Stars of film, television, stage, sports and music will provide the nation first-class performances. Joining the festivities this year are Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo, Mariah Carey, Dove Cameron and Sofia Carson, Cirque du Soleil, Daughtry, Andra Day, Andy Grammer, Sandra Lee, Shawn Mendes, MercyMe, MIPSO, Miss America 2016 Betty Cantrell, Jennifer Nettles, NHL legends Mark and Marty Howe, Jake Owen, Panic! at the Disco, Plain White T's, Rachel Platten, Questlove with the cast and the Muppets of "Sesame Street," Prince Royce, the cast of Broadway's "School of Rock," Trey Songz, Jordin Sparks, Chica and the gang from Sprout and Train.

Joining the parade as a signature element kicking off the holiday season will be the world-famous Radio City Rockettes. The national broadcast would not be complete without showcasing the best theatrical productions. Set for a 34th Street performance will be "Fiddler on the Roof," "Finding Neverland," "The King & I," "On Your Feet!" and "Something Rotten." In addition, spectators will get a sneak preview performance from NBC's "The Wiz Live!" which premieres Thursday, Dec. 3 (8 p.m.).

Since its origin in 1924, the Macy's Parade has marked the official start of the holiday season, introducing a cherished march of magic that has dazzled generations of fans. For the 89th edition, the famed spectacle's lineup will feature 17 giant character balloons; 24 novelty/ornament balloons, balloonicles and trycaloons; 27 floats; 1,100 cheerleaders and dancers; more than 1,000 clowns; 12 marching bands; a host of celebrity performers; and, of course, the one-and-only Santa Claus.

"The 89th edition of Macy's famed holiday procession promises to deliver an unrivaled spectacle of magic for millions of spectators lining the streets of New York City and millions more watching it unfold in homes across the nation," said Amy Kule, executive producer of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. "From our signature giant character balloons to our floats of wonder, not to mention the nation's best marching bands, whimsical clowns, celebrities and the big man himself - Santa Claus - the 89th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade will continue to delight audiences of all ages, as together we celebrate the start of the holiday season."

Giants in the Sky

The parade's signature giant character balloons have showcased the world's most beloved cultural characters since the late 1920s. Evolving from a simple paper sketch to giant wonders on Thanksgiving morning, the balloons are transformed by Macy's "Balloonatics" into high-flying art.

This year, four new giant characters will take center stage, including "Angry Birds' Red" by Rovio Entertainment; the pre-historic and legendary "DINO" by Sinclair Oil; "Ice Age's Scrat and his Acorn" by Twentieth Century Fox; and Ronald McDonald debuting in his fourth whimsical giant balloon.

Returning characters include "Adventure Time with Finn & Jake," "Diary of a Wimpy Kid," "The Elf on the Shelf," "Hello Kitty, "How to Train Your Dragon's" Toothless, "Paddington," "Pikachu," Pillsbury Doughboy, "Skylanders" Eruptor, Snoopy and Woodstock, SpongeBob SquarePants, the Red Mighty Morphin Power Ranger and Thomas the Tank Engine. Returning balloonicles (a Macy's Parade hybrid of cold-air balloon and vehicle) include the famed-spokesduck the Aflac Duck and the supercool KOOL-AID Man.

Floating on Air

Macy's floating wonders create a collection of magic and imaginative delights that dazzle and transport spectators. These stages are created by Macy's Parade Studio's team of designers, carpenters, painters, animators, metal fabricators and electricians, who work all year to bring the idea on a sketch pad to towering reality. Macy's Parade floats are often three-stories tall and several lanes of traffic wide, but must collapse to no more than 12-1/2-feet tall and 8-feet wide in order to safely travel from the New Jersey studio to the Manhattan starting line via the Lincoln Tunnel.

This year's six new floats include "Big City Cheer!" by Spirit of America Productions, "The Colonel's Road Trip to NYC" by Kentucky Fried Chicken, "The Cranberry Cooperative" by Ocean Spray, "Discover Adventure!" by Build-a-Bear, "Heartwarming Holiday Countdown" by Hallmark Channel and celebrating the 50th anniversary of "A Charlie Brown Christmas," "Snoopy's Doghouse" by Peanuts Worldwide.

The returning float roster includes "1-2-3 Sesame Street"; "Big Apple" (New York Daily News); "At the Ball Game" (Cracker Jack); "Dreamseeker" (Cirque du Soleil); "Enchanting World of Lindt Chocolate"; "Frozen Fall Fun" (Discover); "Free to Play" (Sprout); "Girl-Powered Spinning Machine" (GoldieBlox); "It's All Rock & Roll" (Gibson Brands); "Mount Rushmore's American Pride" (South Dakota Department of Tourism); "On the Roll Again" (Homewood Suites by Hilton); "Santa's Sleigh"; "Santaland Express"; "Stirrin' Up Sweet Sensations" (Domino Sugar); "Stone Forest of Kunming, China" (Sino-American Friendship Association); "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" (Nickelodeon); "Tom Turkey"; "Treasure Hunt" (Pirate's Booty); "Winter Wonderland in Central Park" (Delta Air Lines); and "A World at Sea" (Royal Caribbean International).

Completing the lineup will be a vintage 1924 Ford Model T Fire Truck, along with the FDNY Pipes & Drums in celebration of their 150th anniversary. In addition, the "Casa Fresca Café" float by Avocados From Mexico will entice and delight spectators with a tasty and fun fiesta.

Drum Roll, Please ...

Marching bands are a central piece of the Thanksgiving delights, bringing national excitement and hometown pride to the streets of the Big Apple, not to mention the musical beat to the holiday revelry.

Twelve performance ensembles will take up the call of the baton and march down the streets of Manhattan, creating a wave of thunderous applause. Joining the fun are Gulf Coast High School (Naples, Florida), Lewis Cass High School (Walton, Indiana), Munford High School (Munford, Tennessee), Nogales High School (La Puente, California), North Hardin High School (Radcliff, Kentucky), Stephen F. Austin State University (Nacogdoches, Texas), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Champaign, Illinois), University of Virginia (Charlottesville, Virginia), Walled Lake Central High School (Walled Lake, Michigan), West Chester University of Pennsylvania (West Chester, Pennsylvania) and the NYPD Marching Band (New York,).

Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Macy's Great American Marching Band will welcome back a selection of alumni band members, in addition to a new class of more than 250 elite high school marching band students from across the country.

Specialty Parade entertainment always promises a unique, exciting, and sometimes humorous look at the nation's finest performance groups. This year, special groups include the 610 Stompers (New Orleans), Brooklyn Jumbies (Brooklyn), J.U.M.P. jump rope team (Strongsville, Ohio) and the Kruti Dance Academy (Duluth, Georgia). Completing the performance groups are the Spirit of America Cheer and the Spirit of America Dance Stars, which both feature 550 of the nation's best cheerleaders and most thrilling dancers.

An Insider's Look

For an insider's look at the holiday procession, fans nationwide can visit www.Macys.com/parade for regular updates, including behind-the-scenes previews, animated videos and other exclusive content. Fans can also download the free 89th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade app to interact with the holiday tradition, learn more about the elements and share content with friends.

The 89th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade will begin at 9 a.m. from 77th Street and Central Park West. The procession will march to Columbus Circle, turn onto Central Park South and march down 6th Avenue/Avenue of the Americas to 34th Street. At 34th Street, the parade will make its final turn west and end at 7th Avenue in front of Macy's Herald Square. "A holiday treat for children everywhere" has been the guiding motto of this annual tradition for more than eight decades and is one which continues to this day.

All talent, performances, lineup and information included are subject to change. For more information on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, visit www.macys.com/parade or call the parade hotline at 212-494-4495. Follow @macys and join the conversation at #MacysParade on various social networks.

For more information on the broadcast, visit http://www.nbc.com/macys-thanksgiving-day-parade.

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