The countdown to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is on!
With Thanksgiving less than two weeks away, Weekend TODAY has a sneak peek at the brand-new balloons that will be on display during the annual event.
Macy's executive producer Will Coss shared all the details on the new additions from BalloonFest at Citi Field.
"We’ve got a full show: 10 marching bands, 15 giant character balloons, 28 floats, 30-plus heritage balloons, and a whole host of performances," Coss said. "Really excited to be back in full form.”
New balloons this year will include pop culture icon Grogu, better known as Baby Yoda, from “The Mandalorian,” and a new Pokemon balloon featuring both Pikachu and Eevee that honors the beloved series’ 25th anniversary.
Other new balloons will include a giant Ada Twist from the book and Netflix series "Ada Twist, Scientist" and a new version of McDonald's Ronald McDonald balloon.
It takes dozens of people to prepare for the parade: 27 painters, carpenters, sculptors, welders, animators, designers, electricians and engineers all work more than 8,000 hours to create the colorful floats and bobbing balloons. Hundreds of handlers then walk the balloons along the 2 1/2-mile parade route.
After last year's parade was altered due to the coronavirus pandemic, Coss said they're excited to have the full parade on display for its 95th year.
In addition the balloons and floats, viewers will be treated to music performances from stars like Carrie Underwood, Kristin Chenoweth and Kelly Rowland. Ten marching bands will play in the parade, and Broadway shows like "Six" and "Wicked" will perform for the crowd.
“We’re really excited. We’re back, we’re live, we’re back in New York City,” Coss said. “We’re really excited to bring this cherished tradition of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade back to New York City and back to America.”
The parade will air on Nov. 25 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. in all time zones on NBC, and will be available on Peacock and Telemundo at the same time. The celebration will be hosted by TODAY's Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Al Roker.
An encore of the parade will air from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
CORRECTION (Nov. 16, 2021, 10:09 a.m.): An earlier version of this article misstated the number of new balloons in this year's parade. There will be four, not six, new giant character balloons.