The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade returned to New York City after a virtual pandemic parade last year – and President Joe Biden called in to say, ‘America’s back’.
Thousands gathered for the 95th annual parade in midtown Manhattan on Thursday morning, cheering on turkey and holiday-themed floats, marchers and bands.
A handful of celebrities joined the celebration including Jon Batiste, Kristin Chenoweth, Kelly Rowland, Rob Thomas and Carrie Underwood, and the president dialed in to Al Roker of NBC’s TODAY Show.
‘Oh my gosh, look at who’s calling,’ Roker said, raising his cell phone toward the camera to reveal President Biden’s face on the screen.
‘What’s your message to the American folks on this Thanksgiving Day?’ Roker asked the president.
‘My message is after two years you’re back, America’s back,’ the president could be heard saying through the phone. ‘There’s nothing we’re unable to overcome, Al, and you’re one of the reasons for that, pal. You’re always up. You’re always rooting.’
Roker thanked the president for the call and said he hoped the Bidens would continue watching the parade.
‘Santa is coming. Santa is coming, Mr President!’ Roker said.
President Biden replied: ‘I’m waiting for Santa.’
The president, who is spending Thanksgiving week at his friend private equity billionaire David Rubenstein’s Nantucket home, said he was sorry for not attending the parade.
‘Wish we were there with you, Al,’ he said, ‘Nice to see you, pal.’
The parade featured 28 floats, 26 inflatables, 15 giant character balloons, 10 marching bands, nine performing groups and more than 800 clowns.
To access the parade, guests were required to provide proof of vaccination against the coronavirus and a matching photo ID. Negative Covid-19 tests were not accepted as a substitute, and masks were required. About 3.5million spectators were expected to watch the parade along the route.
Biden wasn’t the only official who said the parade was a sign of the country bouncing back from the pandemic. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio billed it ‘a great sign of our rebirth’.
‘Last year was obviously symbolic. It wasn’t everything we would have liked to see in a parade, but they kept it going,’ New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said during a press conference on Wednesday.
‘This year, the parade’s back at full strength.’
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