Timothy A. Clary/Getty Photos
Come Thanksgiving morning—in 2021, that is November 25—the kitchen home windows steam up, the aroma of roasting turkey wafts by way of the home, and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is on TV. Will probably be broadcast from 9 a.m. to midday (dwell on the East Coast, tape-delayed elsewhere)—and on NBC’s Peacock streaming service. Now in its ninety fifth working, the parade is yearly considered in individual by some 3.5 million spectators and televised to an estimated 50 million. In 2021 there are 28 floats, together with six new ones, touring a 2.5-mile-long route in Manhattan that ends, naturally, at Macy’s in Herald Sq..
Between the balloon handlers, clowns, cheerleaders, dancers, marching bands, and superstar performers, about 6500 individuals will participate within the 2021 parade. Unsurprisingly, we had been most within the drivers, who tow the floats. We visited Macy’s Parade Studio, the parade headquarters, and came upon some issues you might not have identified concerning the spectacle.
1 Ram Vehicles Tow the Floats
For the 2021 parade, Ram is once more the official truck, which suggests Ram pickups will tow all of the floats—greater than two dozen of them. As soon as they’re loaded up with performers and youngsters, these floats can weigh as much as eight tons. We do not have particulars but on the 2021 truck lineup, however in 2019 the vans towing them had been a mixture of 1500s, 2500s, and 3500s. A 3500 Laramie Longhorn Southfork Version towed the Gibson Guitar float, whereas one other 3500 was hitched to the Singing Christmas Tree float. A white 2500 Energy Wagon did the honors of towing Santa’s sleigh. Further Ram vans and ProMaster industrial vans are usually behind the scenes as properly, transferring costumes, device containers, and different parade wants.
2 In Previous Years, It Was GMCs
Previous to 2015, which was the primary yr for Ram vans, GMC pickups and SUVs did the towing. GMC’s run lasted for greater than 30 years, going again to the early Nineteen Eighties.
3 Teamsters Do the Driving
The individuals commanding the balloons (as many as 90 per balloon) are all Macy’s staff and mates, however the drivers on the wheel of the vans towing the floats are members of New York Metropolis’s Theatrical Teamsters union, Native 817. They’re speculated to put on jackets and ties for parade responsibility.
4 The Actual Beginning Level Is Moonachie, New Jersey
Though the parade route begins on Manhattan’s Higher West Facet, on Central Park West at 77th Avenue, the floats first have to get from the warehouse the place they’re constructed and saved, in Moonachie, New Jersey, to the place to begin within the metropolis. For that journey, the floats, which will be as a lot as 50 ft lengthy and two or three tales tall, need to be damaged all the way down to a most dimension of 8.5 ft vast by 12.5 ft excessive, to allow them to undergo the Lincoln Tunnel.
5 For the Drivers, the Parade Kicks Off on Wednesday Night time
The journey from New Jersey into Manhattan takes place round midnight on Wednesday. As a result of lots of the floats have been partly deconstructed, there are extra trailers carrying the attendant items, for a complete of greater than 50 in all. They journey in convoy, with an escort from a number of police companies, by way of the middle tube of the Lincoln Tunnel (which is briefly closed to different site visitors), to the staging space simply north of the parade’s official start line.
6 Getting Again to Jersey, Drivers Are on Their Personal
The parade route ends in entrance of Macy’s flagship retailer in Herald Sq.. From there, the floats proceed another block west after which flip north onto Seventh Avenue, the place they meet the auxiliary trailers (which have been despatched to the tip level earlier than the parade begins). The floats are once more partly damaged down for the return journey to Jersey. This time, although, there’s no convoy and no police escort. As every float is prepared, the drivers are despatched off on their very own, creeping slowly by way of the Lincoln Tunnel, in vacation site visitors, again to New Jersey.
7 No person Needs to Experience with Santa Claus
Santa (pictured right here within the 2020 parade) is the least well-liked as a result of he comes final within the parade, making for a really lengthy day for his driver.
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