Let’s go to the parade

By Alex P. Vidal

“I’m still passionately interested in what my fellow humans are up to. For me, a day spent monitoring the passing parade is a day well-spent.”

—Garry Trudeau

FOR many Pinoys living in New York, the sure thing to be among the three million people expected to line up the Big Apple streets during the fabulous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 24, is when either they were off duty, or they didn’t have work.

In the past, the most popular line we normally heard during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade was, “Let’s go to the parade. Tara na.” It’s totally unacceptable to miss the parade when we were free. No other events on that day could match the excitement people feel for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.

Some spectators travel by groups—including whole families—from other states to watch the colorful parade even if the temperature are not so good.

In the past seven years, I missed the parade three times. Either the parade occurred on my off day, or I didn’t have work on the day of the parade in those four years that I was “present.”

Present means physically watching in person and lining the parade route; like the other spectators, I also hooted and waved my hands like a child again as the balloons, floats and marching bands made their way from the Upper West Side to Macy’s flagship store at Herald Square.

Last year I was lucky to be there again when pandemic was almost over and the parade was back after a TV-only event in 2020.

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As early as eight o’clock in the morning, I buried myself in the “sea of humanity” near the Rockefeller Center on Fifth Avenue and had a good view of the parade. What a feeling.

About 2.5 million spectators were expected to be in the parade routes during the 96th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade this year that would kick off Thursday, Nov. 24, at 9 a.m. ET local time.

This time, I won’t be physically present.

This year’s event would reportedly feature 16 giant character balloons, 28 floats, 12 marching bands, a host of musical stars and more. Plus 700 clowns and Santa Claus, for good measure.

Spectators getting a jump on the big event can watch the balloons being inflated on Wednesday afternoon, November 23, on the Upper West Side, CNN reported.

The preparations were open to the public from noon to 6 p.m. The area could only be accessed from West 72nd Street and Columbus Avenue.

There would be a packed slate of performers, as usual. The 2022 lineup, according to the news, includes Paula Abdul, Jordin Sparks, Dionne Warwick, Betty Who, Big Time Rush, Gloria Estefan with her daughter Emily and grandson Sasha, Sean Paul, Jimmy Fallon and the Roots, and Fitz and the Tantrums. The stars from Peacock’s upcoming series Pitch Perfect: Bumper in Berlin—Adam Devine, Sarah Hyland, and Flula Borg—would also make an appearance.

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Broadway fans would reportedly be treated to a performance from Lea Michele and the cast of Funny Girl. The casts of The Lion King, Some Like It Hot, and A Beautiful Noise, would also do numbers from their respective shows, as will the Radio City Rockettes.

For the grand finale, Mariah Carey will belt out her iconic Christmas anthem, “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” just before Santa Claus and his sleigh land in front of Macy’s on 34th Street in Manhattan.

Four balloons would be making their first trip down the parade route, including Bluey, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Striker, the U.S. Soccer Star, Dino and Baby Dino, and Stuart the Minion.

Spectacular new floats include Geoffrey’s Dazzling Dance Party by Toys “R” Us, Baby Shark by Pinkfong and Nickelodeon, People of First Light by Macy’s, the Wondership by Wonder, and Supersized Slumber by Netflix, which will celebrate the magical world of the upcoming Netflix movie Slumberland.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)

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