See the Best Star-Studded Moments at Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Over the Years

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is right around the corner. In honor of the special event, take a look back at some of its most memorable moments.

By Megan Larratt Nov 25, 2021 1:00 AMTags
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The leaves are changing and pumpkin spice is on the shelves, which can only mean one thing: It's almost Thanksgiving!

Around this time of year, it's hard to ignore one of the longest ongoing Thanksgiving traditions—the world-renowned annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Dating back to 1924, this iconic New York-based parade has always kept us on the edge of our seats, complete with various performers, outlandish floats, meticulous group dances and surprise celebrity appearances!

Starting out as a Christmas parade, this tradition has slowly evolved into the incredible event that it is today, eventually becoming more than just a simple parade. Do you remember when the resilient New York City firefighters walked the streets of Manhattan in 2001 after the tragic 9/11 attacks earlier that September? Or what about Ariana Grande's uplifting rendition of Wham!'s "Last Christmas" in 2013?

The annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is a beacon of joy and unites Americans with a common message: What can we be grateful for today?

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The 95th parade will broadcast on NBC from 9 a.m.–12 p.m. in all time zones on Nov. 25. Expect to see novelty balloons, 28 floats, various marching ensembles and appearances from celebrities like Carrie Underwood, Kelly Rowland, Darren Criss and more. 

Of course, we can't ignore the biggest celebrity who is guaranteed to make an appearance every year...Santa Claus!

So prepare to bring out the turkey and grab your hot apple cider on the special day. But until then, let's prepare for the holidays by taking a look back at all of our favorite past moments from the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Here come the festivities!

Hilary Duff

The Lizzie McGuire star sang "So Yesterday" on the retro 50's themed American Classic Malt Shop float in 2003. Rocking an adorable black hat and a flattering pink sweater, her outfit is so not yesterday.

Hoda Kotb

The enthusiastic Today show co-anchor posed with members of the crowd and fellow parade-goers at the 93rd annual Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2019. Just look at that smile, she's beaming!

Trey Songz & The Spirit of America Cheerleaders

The "Slow Motion" singer posed with the Spirit of America Cheerleaders after their performance of his hit single, "About You," in 2015.

Santa Claus

The jolliest man in the North Pole made quite the entrance in 2015 with a giant sleigh in tow and presents as far as the eye can see. Wrapping up the 89th annual Thanksgiving Day Parade, there's nothing like a quick visit from Santa to get you in the mood for the holidays!

Avril Lavigne

In the spirit of keeping loved ones especially close this time of year, the "Wish You Were Here" singer sang on the Cooking Channel float in 2011, which looked like a giant turkey!

New York City Firefighters

In 2001, New York City firefighters walked down the streets of Manhattan during the 75th annual parade. Gratitude is an understatement for these honorable heroes. 

Clay Aiken

The American Idol alum and season 2 runner up sweetly performed "Silver Bells" at the 2003 parade.

Black Eyed Peas

In 2019, the "Where Is the Love" group showcased a throwback performance without fellow band member, Fergie.

Kanye West

The rapper passionately performed his single "Lost in the World" on the Big Apple float in 2010.

Nick Jonas

This Jonas Brothers member performed one of his solo singles "Jealous" while aboard the Royal Caribbean float in 2014.

Billy Porter

The Kinky Boots actor and Pose star looked dashing at the 2019 Thanksgiving Day Parade atop a magnificent purple chariot with a skeleton dinosaur.

Steve Irwin

The late Animal Planet star and famed animal lover enthusiastically waved to the crowd in 2004 for the 78th annual Thanksgiving Day Parade. 

Diana Ross

The legendary "I'm Coming Out" singer performed her rendition of "Wonderful Christmas Time" surrounded by her family at the 2018 Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Raven Symone

The That's So Raven star posed in 2003 rocking a colorful ensemble at the 78th annual Thanksgiving Day Parade.


The American rock band performed one of their signature tunes, "Rock And Roll All Nite," in 2014.

Billy Ray Cyrus

The "Old Town Road" singer participated in the 75th annual parade on a float with the New York Fire Department. 

Kelly Clarkson

The original American Idol winner and host of The Kelly Clarkson Show performed "Heat" at the 92nd annual Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2018.

Jimmy Fallon

The Tonight Show host made an enthusiastic appearance in 2019 on a "Bake Shop" float for the 93rd annual Thanksgiving Day Parade.


The songwriter, dancer and model performed "Melanin" while rocking an all-red ensemble at the 93rd annual Thanksgiving Parade in 2019.

This story was originally published on Monday, Nov. 16, 2020 at 12:50 p.m. PT.

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