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The 96th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade draws huge crowds

They’re a bunch of happy turkeys!

New Yorkers lined the streets of the Big Apple on a bright and early Thursday, enjoying the sunshine and mild winter weather ahead of the 96th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The quintessential Thanksgiving tradition began on the 77th and in Central Park West at 9 a.m. to cheers from onlookers waiting to catch a glimpse of classic balloons like Snoopy and Pikachu — and some of this year’s new additions like Bluey.

Marisa Lau, a teacher celebrating her 40th birthday from Sacramento, California, has wanted to see the parade in person since she was a little girl.

“It’s a dream come true for me,” Lau, who wore a pair of turkey earrings, told The Post from her perspective of No. 53 and No.6.

“This is the best Thanksgiving for me. It’s going to be bigger and better than on TV. I can’t wait to wave, cheer and scream. It will bring back my inner child,” said the excited viewer.

The Tom Turkey Swimmer
The quintessential Thanksgiving tradition began at 9 a.m. on 77th and Central Park West
New Yorkers woke up bright and early to see the parade.

The large crowd has drawn both New Yorkers and tourists eager to take part in a tradition that for many signals the official start of the holiday season – particularly with Santa Claus making a special appearance and closing the event.

Children yelled, yelled, waved, and called out the names of their favorite characters as they floated or drove by on floats. Eventually, the festive crowd started making the wave.

“I want to see the Bluey balloon,” said Tsehai Burns, a 15-year-old from Flushing, Queens, who was watching an episode of the show on her phone before the parade began.

The 10th grader, who has Crohn’s disease, recalled how the show inspired her when she was hospitalized with a lower bowel infection from Halloween to Christmas Eve in 2019.

“I couldn’t eat. I was very skinny. I had to have surgery,” she said, adding that she is in better health now. Burn’s face lit up when she saw her favorite character, Josh, standing on the float in front of the Bluey balloon.

“I called his name. I wanted to take a selfie with him. He’s my idol since I was in the hospital. I had to have an operation and watched him a lot. Josh helped me through my struggles in the hospital. Whenever I was sad, I watched Josh.”

Children and adults made up the large and lively crowd, both equally excited to witness the parade.

Dawna Tsitrian, a substitute teacher from Rapid City, South Dakota, came with her daughter to celebrate her 80th birthday.

“I’ve always wanted to come here since the ’60s when we had a TV. I started watching it on my black and white TV – it was a small TV – and now I’m experiencing it live,” said the young at heart Tsitrian. “I decided to come on my 80th because you have to move and hailing.”

Macy’s beloved parade was back last year after going virtual during the COVID pandemic.

This year’s parade includes 16 giant balloons with characters, 28 floats, 40 inflatable novelties and traditions, 12 marching bands, 700 clowns, 10 performance groups and a crowd of music stars. The parade is organized through the work of over 5,000 volunteers.

Several new balloons are set to hit the New York City skies this year, including Bluey, a character from a popular Disney Junior cartoon about a 6-year-old Australian Heeler dog and her canine family.

Other new additions this year include ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ from popular children’s books; Dino and Baby Dino, a pair of bright green dinosaurs; and the one-eyed servant Stuart.

Returning balloons include Astronaut Snoopy, The Boss Baby, Chase from Paw Patrol, The Pillsburgy Doughboy, Ronald McDonald, Red Titan from Ryan’s World, Papa Smurf from The Smurfs, Spongebob Squarepants and Pikachu and Eevee from “Pokémon”.