Hoda Kotb Shares Al Roker Will Still Participate In Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade: ‘Thanksgiving Ain’t Thanksgiving Without Al Roker’

Macy’s isn’t letting COVID-19 rain on their Thanksgiving Day Parade. In fact, the nation’s favourite holiday event will march on again with just a few restrictions.

“We can’t wait. By the way, I was just talking to Savannah [Guthrie] this morning as we were learning more of the details about how it’s going to go down, and it makes us feel so good. We’re going to be in our spot, which is where we always are, at Macy’s on 34th street, and I can’t wait for that. That just makes it all feel right. It’s going to be different, obviously. You’re not going to have all of the crowds and all that stuff, but for most people who watch it from home, you’re going to see what you’d normally see, which is, ‘Wow, look at that float’ or ‘Oh, wait. Is that Patti LaBelle singing?’ We can’t do it like we always did because everything is different, but I think if you’re watching from home, you’re going to enjoy it as much as you would have in years past. We’re going to bring our energy, and make up for the crowd,” host Hoda Kotb told reporters in a press conference attended by ET Canada.

Last year, the unparalleled spectacle featured 16 giant character balloons, 40 novelty balloons, 26 floats, 1,200 cheerleaders and dancers, 1,000 clowns and 11 marching bands, but in order to keep the start of Macy’s 94th holiday season celebration COVID safe, there will be a few changes, including: 18+ year old parade participants, no crowds, utilizing vehicles instead of handlers to safely carry the large balloons down the street, and pre-taping performances that include a larger participant count.

“Because New York is coming back and you can actually see it happening, we have to have the Macy’s Day Parade,” Kotb said. “I remember the Mayor saying, well it’s a virtual parade, and it’s actually not a virtual parade. It’s going to be a live parade. Like we are doing the Macy’s Day Parade. I feel like you have to have it on in the background while you’re making your gravy. What would we be doing without it? We’re just good company. I feel like everyone is just going about their business and look over and go, ‘Oh man, look at that!’ And I feel like Thanksgiving ain’t Thanksgiving without the Macy’s Day Parade, and I’m so happy we’re doing it.”

The parade hopes to continue to be a glimmer of normalcy in the year of uncertainty by still showcasing performances by Dolly Parton, Brett Young, CNCO, and of course, a big wave from Santa.

“It’s always cool to see Santa as a grown-up because you still get a little fluttery… and the idea that [my kids], even on television, are going to be seeing Santa is just incredible to me. Last year when I was hosting the parade, they went to see the parade and Joel was with them and I got to see all of the pictures, but watching them marvel at those balloons, it was like they couldn’t believe what they were witnessing… The Macy’s Parade means everything, and I look forward to the day where I can bring them with me near the booth so I can experience it with them because that’s the one thing I do miss,” Kotb said.

Despite, “Today” host, Al Roker’s recent prostate cancer diagnosis, Kotb says her co-host still plans to spread that “typical” holiday cheer alongside herself and Guthrie Thanksgiving morning.

“Well I have some pretty good news,” Kotb said. “I just learned today that Al will likely be doing the parade with us. Raise the roof. Roker is back. We’re very hopeful that Al will be in his typical, rare form on parade day, and y’all know that Thanksgiving ain’t Thanksgiving without Al Roker at the parade. We’re so happy. I mean, he’s going through a difficult time, but as I said to him: ’It’s never you got this, it’s we got this.’”

The 94th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will air on NBC, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020 at 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

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