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Macy's Keeping Holiday Magic Alive With COVID-Safe Thanksgiving Day Parade: 'Some Lightness To Some Heavy Times'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Like all things 2020, Thanksgiving looks different this year.

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade had the usual trappings of floats and musical performances, but no crowds.

That didn't stop families from craning their necks a block away, trying to catch a glimpse of their favorite balloons.

"It just lifts your spirits. It's Thanksgiving, it's the start of the holiday season," Midtown resident Rachel Rebholz told CBS2's Christina Fan.

Typically, 3.5 million spectators line the 2.5-mile parade route from the Upper West Side to Herald Square. This year, everyone was told to stay home because of the pandemic.

Photo Gallery: 2020 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Minus The Crowd

Parade organizers even reduced the total number of participants by 88%. Instead of handlers, balloons were rigged onto specialty vehicles.

"We actually have vehicles that will carry those large balloons down the street," Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Executive Producer Susan Tercero.

Colleen Hutchens, who watches every year with her family, was grateful the tradition found a way to carry on.

"Since we do have such a different Thanksgiving this year, I think it's nice to have that one thing that's the same," she said.

MORE: No Balloons, No Bars: New Yorkers Kick Off Holiday Season Like No Other Without Usual Thanksgiving Eve Traditions

Some New Yorkers disappointed with the view dressed up as their own inflatable characters, spreading smiles to spectators. One man posed for pictures as he waddled down Fifth Avenue as a blow-up turkey.

Zeev Kirsh and Kaitlin Lawrence decided to throw their own mini-parade to keep the magic alive.

"We had this vision of him in a turkey costume just holding one balloon, walking down the street, and it brought us so much joy, so we had to make that happen," said Lawrence.

A miracle on 34th Street.


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