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NEW YORK (AP) — The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will return to its pre-pandemic form this year, with its route restored through Manhattan, high-flying helium balloons once again pulled by handlers and crowds welcomed back to cheer them on.
This year’s parade — the 95th annual — will snap back to form after bowing to pandemic restrictions last year. It will feature 15 giant character balloons, 28 floats, 36 novelty and heritage inflatables, more than 800 clowns, 10 marching bands and nine performance groups and, of course, Santa Claus.
New balloon giants joining the line-up on Nov. 25 include Ada Twist, Scientist and the Pokémon characters Pikachu and Eevee. Broadway will be represented by the casts of “Six,” “Moulin Rouge! The Musical” and “Wicked.” The Rockettes will be there, as will the cast of the upcoming NBC live production of “Annie.”
There will be new floats led by the cast of “Girls5eva” — Sara Bareilles, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Paula Pell and Busy Philipps — Nelly and Jordan Fisher, while Jon Batiste will be on an alligator-themed float celebrating Louisiana’s music, food and culture.
Other celebrities on hand include Carrie Underwood, Jimmie Allen, Kelly Rowland, Rob Thomas, Kristin Chenoweth, Darren Criss, Foreigner, Andy Grammer, Mickey Guyton, Chris Lane, Miss America Camille Schrier, Muppets from “Sesame Street” and the three past and current hosts of “Blue’s Clues” — Steve Burns, Donovan Patton and Josh Dela Cruz.
Some of the returning balloons will be Astronaut Snoopy, ‘The Boss Baby,” “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” Chase from “Paw Patrol,” the Pillsbury Doughboy, Red Titan from “Ryan’s World,” Papa Smurf from “The Smurfs,” Sonic the Hedgehog and SpongeBob SquarePants.
The Macy’s parade has been a traditional holiday season kickoff and spectators often line up a half-dozen deep along the route to cheer about 8,000 marchers, two dozen floats, entertainers and marching bands.