NEW YORK, Nov. 2, 2011 (iFastFwd Media) -- America's favorite holiday tradition returns once more to dazzle and enchant millions nationwide with its signature magic. On Thursday, November 24, 2011 at 9:00 AM, the 85th Anniversary Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade® will take to the streets of New York City with a cornucopia of whimsical treats for the whole family. From new giant character helium balloons to out-of-this world floats, the magic begins at the sound of Let's Have A Parade! More than 8,000 participants including a gaggle of clowns, exciting performance groups, pulse-pounding marching bands, celebrities and the one-and-only Santa Claus will kick-off the holidays with the 85th march of unrivaled wonder.
In 1924, a foundation was set for an incomparable procession that has grown into a world-famous icon. Giving thanks while giving back to New York and the nation, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade has become the benchmark for pageantry and the official celebration that marks the start of the holiday season. Yearly, America's Parade delights more than 3.5 million spectators lining the streets of Manhattan and more than 50 million television viewers nationwide.
"Since the first storied march in 1924, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade has been a call to celebration. Over the years, gathering to watch the Parade, whether in person or on television has become a tradition for families across the nation and synonymous with the start of the holiday season," said Amy Kule, executive producer of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. "This year as we celebrate 85 years of magical moments, we are truly humbled by the unique role the Macy's Parade now fills in the lives of Americans, and we are thrilled to celebrate this special milestone with an unparalleled line-up of new balloons, floats and the nation's best performers - all here to kick-off the spectacular holiday season."
Taking the stage to help spread holiday cheer will be stars from music, film, stage, sports and television, who are set to perform for the nation at Macy's famed red star mark on 34th Street. Stars joining the festivities this year include Rodney Atkins, the Big Apple Circus, Mary J. Blige, Cobra Starship, Neil Diamond, Michael Feinstein, The Fresh Beat Band, Cee Lo Green, Avril Lavigne, Shelby Lynne, Mannheim Steamroller, China Anne McClain, Scotty McCreery, Ingrid Michaelson, the cast and Muppets of Sesame Street, Savannah Outen, Power Rangers Samurai, cast of Broadway's Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Daniel Radcliffe and the cast of Broadway's How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Miss America 2011 Teresa Scanlan, Willard Scott, cast of Broadway's Sister Act, cast of Broadway's Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, Straight No Chaser, US Naval Academy Glee Club, Johnny Weir, and Zendaya.
Joining returning favorites, the following new stars of the Macy's Parade line-up will delight millions of spectators in their first proud procession through the streets of New York City.
Julius, who has rocketed into world-wide fame, makes his Parade debut in style. Soaring above his friends with the help of his trusty jetpack, Julius brings his iconic presence and awesomeness to the skies of New York. Measuring 41-feet tall, 65-feet long and 39-feet wide, this will be Julius' biggest day ever.
SONIC THE HEDGEHOG
SEGA® OF AMERICA, INC.
On Thanksgiving Day, the first-ever balloon based on a video game character returns to the sky to celebrate his 20th Anniversary. Sonic the Hedgehog, will sky rocket into the atmosphere with his massive blue spikes, signature white gloves and red shoes, shining in the sun. For his Parade return, Sonic will measure 50-feet tall, 65-feet long, and 37-feet wide, solidifying his presence, once again, as a historic character in the line-up.
Quacking down the route for the first time is the nation's most loveable bird, the Aflac Duck, taking on a new form for the festivities as a 35-foot tall balloonicle. Riding on a sleigh and wearing a festive scarf, this Duck will be a sure fire hit and a welcomed addition to the legendary Parade line-up.
The winning design of Macy's Great American Elf Adventure, Gazer is described by creator Keith Lapinig as having an important role to play in the holiday season. When not flying down the streets of Manhattan, Gazer helps fulfill the wishes of thousands of children that visit Santa Claus at Macy's Herald Square in New York City each year. Gazer's star and moon design was inspired by the story of R.H. Macy who chose Macy's famed star emblem after a fateful fishing trip that found him lost at sea.
Tim Burton's B.
A steadfast balloon boy finally learns to fly when Tim Burton's B. debuts as a helium giant in the 85th Macy's Parade. Firmly rooted in Mr. Burton's unique aesthetic, B. is a boy who dreams of flight. With the scars that mark his stitched together birth, B. will finally get his chance to fly on Thanksgiving Day, although his adventure will come with strings attached.
Floats of Fantasy
FROZEN FALL FUN
A pond, a puck and a Turkey Goalie are set for a spectacular Thanksgiving Day slap shot contest. Transforming a hometown backyard into an ice rink for the ultimate hockey showdown, the Frozen Fall Fun float will delight hockey fans of all ages, as they root for the kids on the home team. On board for the Turkey Day classic will be Grammy®-Award winner Cee Lo Green, along with some NHL greats.
GIFT OF FREEDOM
America's symbol of freedom, the Statue of Liberty, is immortalized on this brand new float that features a replica of the Lady in the Harbor's famed torch. Aboard for the patriotic ride will be members of the U.S. Military Cadets Chorus saluting the nation with a rendition of "God Bless America."
HATS OFF TO OUR HERITAGE!
The Parade's most dapper new float makes its debut in style celebrating the 85th Anniversary of Macy's Parade. On board are two of the Parade's most famous leaders – Jean McFaddin and Robin Hall. The stewards of the Macy's Parade legacy for a combined 34 years, Macy's tips their hats to the incomparable leaders who each left an indelible mark on the procession. Depicting their famed headgear – a cowboy hat for Jean and a Top Hat for Robin, the float also features a host of characters that have graced the skies of New York in the line-up from the first-ever Macy's balloon of Felix the Cat to Bugs Bunny, Babar, and Clifford the Big Red Dog, the Parade's balloon history comes to life on the frolicking float.
P.B. POLAR BEAR
UNIVERSAL ORLANDO® RESORT
P.B. Polar Bear is ready for a celebration! In honor of this year's 10th Anniversary of Macy's Holiday Parade™ at Universal Studios, P.B. is poised to add a 10-year star to the magnificent tree in the famous park, which is part of Universal Orlando® Resort. However, first P.B. and his friends, have to make a pit stop in the Big Apple to help kick-off the holiday season.
The loveable ZhuZhu Pets make their Macy's Parade debut as they float along on the wonderful, whacky world of the ZHU-NIVERSE! The Fab Four – Pipsqueak, Mr. Squiggles, Chunk and Num Nums – dance, surf and skateboard to the delight of Zhu-natics everywhere. YouTube sensation Savannah Outen and kids from Camp Broadway, will add to the fun as they perform "There's No Place Like Here" – an original song from the new ZhuZhu Pets DVD movie, Quest for Zhu™, which is also featured on the Quest for Zhu soundtrack CD.
Mr. Peanut is getting back to his roots as he returns to the Parade in his Naturally Remarkable Nutmobile. The new Nutmobile runs on biodiesel and harnesses the power of wind and solar energy. Always a perfect holiday host, Mr. Peanut will wave to his adoring fans from atop his new eco-friendly ride.
The 85th Anniversary Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade airs nationwide on NBC-TV, from 9am-noon, in all time zones, check local listings.
In addition, Parade fans across the country will get an exclusive look at what it takes to create decades of magic when "The 85th Anniversary of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade," special airs on NBC nationwide, on Thursday, November 24th, from 10-11 p.m. ET, check local listings. Hosted by Matt Lauer, the special features a look back at 85 years of one of America's greatest holiday traditions including the floats, balloons and performances that make the show one of the most watched spectacles every year.
Public information on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is available by logging on to www.macys.com/parade or by calling the Macy's Parade Hotline at (212) 494-4495.