The annual Macy's Thanksgiving Parade will begin Thanksgiving Day on Nov. 27, 2014 in the heart of New York City.
In addition to gathering with friends and family over turkey and giving thanks to God for bountiful blessings throughout the year, this parade, along with a few NFL games, is a traditional Thanksgiving staple across many households in the United States. Besides the famous balloons, musical guests and bands from across America, 27 floats will be making their way down Manhattan, entertaining over 3.5 million spectators along a 2.5 mile stretch.
"All of the floats are designed here, built here and engineered so they all scale down in different ways," John Piper, vice president of the Macy's Parade Studio, said.
According to Myles Ma of NJ.com, Macy's has introduced several new floats to the parade. In addition to a 40-foot-tall pirate ship with a treasure map known as "Pirate Booty," the new floats include "Beauty of Beijing," which has a mini Temple of Heaven surrounded by the Great Wall of China; "Dora and Friends," bringing the setting of the popular Nickelodeon show to life; The Girl-powered Spinning Machine, a GoldieBlox toy factory; and "At the Ball Game," a moving baseball park that includes a scoreboard.
All of these floats were made in a 75,000-square-foot facility named Macy's Parade Studio, located across the Hudson River in a New Jersey town. Ma noted that the studio has room to build floats, inflate balloons to full-size, and has areas for sculpting, woodworking, engineering, molding, painting, costumes and offices.
"We were able to design and build this facility very specifically for the needs of the Macy's Parade Studio," executive producer Amy Kule said.
Getting the floats across the river from New Jersey to New York takes a lot of manpower. Ma notes that a team of 26 workers can grow up to 300 on the day of the parade, which is composed of teams assembling floats and inflating balloons.
"Everybody is hands on ensuring that we have a safe and entertaining parade," Kule said.
As for the musical and entertainment guests, the appearance lineup includes Idina Menzel of Frozen, Nick Jonas, Hilary Duff, Miss USA 2014 Nia Sanchez, Big Apple Circus, Before You Exit, William Blake, Sabrina Carpenter, Cirque du Soleil, Renee Fleming, Becky G, Lucy Hale, KISS, Sandra Lee, The Madden Brothers, MKTO, the cast and Muppets of Sesame Street, NEEDTOBREATHE, NHL hockey legends John LeClair and Pat LaFontaine, Pentatonix, Romeo Santos, Cole Swindell, Meghan Trainor, The Vamps, Quvenzhané Wallis and more.
Iconic balloons will also be making their way down the parade route. According to Garcia, this year's lineup include popular children's characters such as Toothless, Red Mighty Morphan Power Ranger, Paddington Bear, Thomas the Tank Engine, Snoopy, Hello Kitty, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Spider Man, Ronald McDonald, Pillsbury Doughboy, Pikachu, Buzz Lightyear, Smurf, Spongebob and others.
However, the parade route has remained the same, according to information from the official Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade website. The parade's participants will start at the intersection of 77th St. and Central Park West, go south to Columbus Circle and turn left at Central Park South, make a right turn on 6th St., go down all the way to 34th St. while making another right turn there, and end at Macy's flagship store on Herald Square.
The official parade website states that grandstand tickets are not available for sale to the general public.
Those who live outside of New York City can watch the parade on NBC Nov. 27 between 9 a.m. and noon across all time zones in the United States. The parade can also be seen online via live stream.