The holidays are officially here as the 89th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade returns to march down the streets of New York on Thursday, Nov. 26.
Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie and Al Roker of "Today" will anchor the NBC broadcast, airing from 9 a.m.-noon in all time zones.
Celebrities and performers joining in the festivities this year include 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, the Muppets of "Sesame Street," Prince Royce, the cast of Broadway's "School of Rock," Trey Songz, Jordin Sparks, the Radio City Rockettes, Chica and the gang from Sprout and Train.
Set for 34th Street performances are Broadway productions "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. ET/PT).
Since 1924, the Macy's Parade has marked the 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 line-up 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; and of course, the one-and-only Santa Claus.
This year four new giant character balloons 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 balloon 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 & 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 Aflac Duck and the Kool-Aid Man.
Ease on Down the Road
This year's six new parade 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.
Twelve band 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, FL), Lewis Cass High School (Walton, IN), Munford High School (Munford, TN), Nogales High School (La Puente, CA), North Hardin High School (Radcliff, KY), Stephen F. Austin State University (Nacogdoches, TX), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Champaign, IL), University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA), Walled Lake Central High School (Walled Lake, MI), West Chester University of Pennsylvania (West Chester, PA) 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.
The Macy's Parade 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, LA), Brooklyn Jumbies (Brooklyn, NY), J.U.M.P. jump rope team (Strongsville, OH) and the Kruti Dance Academy (Duluth, GA). 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 dancers.
The New York City Route
More than 3.5 million spectators will line the parade route beginning at New York's 77th Street and Central Park West. The procession will then 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.
For an insider's look at the holiday procession, fans nationwide should check Macys.com/parade for regular updates including behind-the-scenes previews, animated videos and other exclusive content.
The 89th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade airs Thursday Nov. 26 from 9 a.m.-noon in all time zones on NBC. An encore presentation begins at 2 p.m. in all time zones.