For nearly eight decades, the U.S. Thanksgiving Day holiday has been synonymous with a parade in the streets of New York. This year will be no different, as the 78th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will boast a cavalcade of floats, enormous balloons and marching bands making their way to the department store’s flagship location in Herald Square.
NBC will broadcast the event live beginning at 9 a.m. ET (taped delayed on the West Coast), with “Today” personalities Katie Couric, Matt Lauer and Al Roker hosting. Sister network Telemundo will offer a Spanish-language simulcast that will be hosted by the network stars Mauricio Zeilic (“Cotorreando”), Candela Ferro (“Ripley’s: ¡Aunque Usted No lo Crea!”) and Alfonso de Anda (“Hoy en el Mundo”).
Among the entertainers will be a host of popular musical acts, including country artist Julie Roberts, who will be at the forefront of the parade. She’ll be riding on the leading float, performing material from her self-titled Mercury Nashville album. Sponsored by the Country Music Association and Big3Entertainment, the “Tom Turkey” float will herald the 39th annual CMA Awards, which will be held in New York in November 2005.
Reigning “American Idol” Fantasia will perform her debut single “I Believe” on the United States Postal Service-sponsored “Spirit of America” float, on which she’ll share space with 2004 summer Olympians. Her J Records labelmate Gavin DeGraw will also be on hand, performing “I Don’t Want To Be” on the Hess “Bridge to the Future” float.
Singer Peter Cetera is slated to ride toymaker Fisher Price’s “The Magic of Childhood” float performing “Something That Santa Claus Left Behind,” from his new ViaStar album, “You Just Gotta Love Christmas.” Also taking part in the festivities will be singer/songwriter Ryan Cabrera, who will be performing his song “True” on a float sponsored by toymaker Lego.
In addition to musical performances from a host of Broadway shows, parade watchers can also look forward to appearances by Jose Feliciano, Raven Symone, Andrea Bocelli, Bering Strait and Hayley Westenra. As is tradition, all of the hoopla leads up to the parade’s finale, the arrival of Santa Claus at Macy’s to officially kick off the winter holiday season.
CBS is also planning national coverage of the parade from New York beginning at 9 a.m ET (tape delayed on the West Coast), and is promising an appearance by LeAnn Rimes, as well as coverage of Broadway musical performances, anchored by Hannah Storm and Dave Price from the network’s daily morning program “The Early Show.”
Once the parade is over and the football games begin, there will also be musical stars on hand to perform at halftime of the two traditional National Football League holiday games. On CBS, John Mellencamp will perform with help from Babyface during the break in the match-up between the Detroit Lions and Indianapolis Colts in Indianapolis. Later, Fox’s broadcast of the Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears in Chicago will boast a halftime performance featuring Destiny’s Child.