The performers, floats, and a new balloon
This year’s parade includes 25 giant balloons, seven balloonicles (aka balloon vehicles), 31 floats, 20 performers (including John Legend, Martina McBride, and Diana Ross), and 12 marching bands.
Attendees can expect Tom Turkey to steal some thunder from the parade’s perennial grand finale star, Santa Claus. The parade’s oldest float has had the same look since 1971, and this year he’ll emerge to ring in Thanksgiving Day and usher in the procession with an updated look and some new technology. You’ll see him flap his mechanical feathers and bob his head a safe distance from your dinner plate.
“This year we’re updating him. We’re giving him more of a spotlight,” says Rick Pomer, VP creative director for Macy’s Entertainment. He has been involved in the production of the parade for 30 years. “We’re building lots of spectacle around him with dancers and confetti and pyro. There will be so much pomp and circumstance around him like never before.”
Also new for 2018: An exciting act will transform the whole street into a bowling alley, complete with a 12-foot diameter bowling ball and 16-foot tall pins. A delicious new float will fulfill your food fantasies — it’s a chocolate factory on wheels topped with a performing Ashley Tisdale. A first time showstopper float, Splashing Safari Adventure, recreates a tranquil wildlife landscape with shimmering blue water, a puppeteer-driven confetti shooting elephant and sky-high giraffe on a mobile stage of vibrant flora and fauna. And Pomer says to keep an eye out for a beautiful new balloon called Little Cloud. The cheeky, smiling cloud balloon stands for light, tranquility, and unconditional love.