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Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade: A Recap

Braydi Burnett
Tom Turkey float kicks off the parade.

Thousands of people lined up early Thursday morning to catch a glimpse of the 97th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City. A record 28.5 million TV viewers made this year’s parade the most viewed and highest-rated entertainment program of the year, according to NBC. 

The parade started at Central Park West and stretched down 6th Avenue to conclude at Macy’s Herald Square, where there were performances from artists like Brandi, Pentatonix, Jon Batiste and Cher, who headlined the event with her new Christmas single, “DJ Play a Christmas Song.” 

There were new balloons introduced along with returning ones, including Baby Shark, Baby Yoda, Spongebob Squarepants, Sesame Street, Chase from “Paw Patrol,” and Smokey the Bear, among 18 others. 

11 marching bands traveled to NYC, some for their first-ever appearance in the parade and others were returning. The Macy’s Great American Marching Band returned this year with 185 select high school musicians from across the country. Ayden Burnett, a senior at Union County High School in Blairsville, was one of the students from across the country selected to return to play the flute with the band for the second year in a row. 

“I am extremely grateful to perform in this parade because it’s something that very few people get to do… this opportunity is something that I will carry with me for the rest of my life,” Burnett says. “Being with people from across the country and becoming friends so quickly showed me that the band and music community is alive and well.” 

Alabama A&M’s band performed for the first time this year and was the first ever historically Black college and university to be the lead band in the parade. 

The parade was briefly interrupted part of the way through by pro-Palestine protestors who were calling for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war. The New York Police Department detained 34 demonstrators, according to The New York Times. 

The protestors were dressed in white jumpsuits with fake blood splashed on them and they glued their hands to the ground in the parade route. Following the parade, the words “Free Palestine” were spray painted on the New York Public Library amid a march throughout the city. 

The brief interruption didn’t stop the parade, however. The floats, balloons, bands and performers marched on to Herald Square to give their performances. Santa Claus concluded the parade to welcome the holiday season.    

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About the Contributor
Braydi Burnett
Braydi Burnett, Staff Writer
Hello! My name is Braydi and I'm a writer for the UNG Vanguard. I'm a junior communications major with a focus in public relations and after college my goal is to work for the Atlanta Braves on their communications team. I enjoy writing and covering important stories. I'm currently the president of Kappa Delta sorority here on campus and I work for UNG Athletics on their creative services team!
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