Join The Parade!
We all have our own traditions that make Thanksgiving Day special and one of the most popular is watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. More than 3.5 million people watch the parade live along the parade route, and more than 50 million people tune in to the television broadcast. The parade itself has more than 10,000 participants, including the nation’s best marching bands and performance groups. The parade was started in 1924 by first-generation immigrants from Europe who were working at Macy’s department store. The costumed employees paraded through Manhattan to the Macy’s store on 34th Street with floats, live bands, and even some live animals from the Central Park Zoo. The first parade was a huge success and the annual tradition was born.
Watching the parade in person is quite the experience, but wouldn’t it be fun to join the parade itself! There are many spots available in the parade for bands and dance groups, but you must apply early – selections are made 18 months in advance of each year’s parade. Marching in the parade is a prestigious honor for any group, as well as being a once in a lifetime opportunity to take part in such a fun and iconic event. From early morning rehearsals and run-thrus to the live performance in front of the flagship Macy’s store on 34th Street, students will experience a bit of what it takes for a television crew and staff to pull off such a huge event.
Check out these great photos of a “Day in the Life of a Parade Marching Band”:
Even though your group will be busy with parade prep and rehearsals, there are plenty of other activities to enjoy. Tours of Radio City and classes with Broadway performers and musicians can be arranged, as well as visits to the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building and other popular attractions. A special “one day only” event to enjoy is the “Inflation Celebration”. Groups can watch the parade balloons being inflated on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, while enjoying hot apple cider and cocoa – an event that is not to be missed this time of year.