Skip to Content

Is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade On? Brutal Cold and Heavy Winds Don’t Stop the New York City Tourist Draw

Thanksgiving 2018 is upon us, and it’s an icy one for people living in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.

According to meteorologists, Thursday is expected to be the coldest Thanksgiving in more than a century, with temperatures dropping well below zero.

But even though New York is due to be hit by winds up to 30 mph and potentially the coldest low temperature for Thanksgiving since record-keeping started, the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is still on.

While the organizers nearly called it off, they decided to go ahead with the parade, which made its trek through Manhattan Thursday morning. Diana Ross, John Legend, Martina McBride and the Muppets from “Sesame Street” were scheduled to perform, and the city of New York, concerned about frostbite, issued an advisory to spectators to ensure they were adequately dressed for the brutal weather. By 9 a.m. ET, when the parade started, the temperature dipped below 20 degrees.

But there is one element of the parade that could still be threatened: the balloons. Strong winds can make it dangerous to fly the huge inflatables, so they will be grounded if the winds are stronger than 23 mph, according to USA Today.

And it’s a good thing the parade went ahead, at least from a tourism perspective: New York remains the No. 1 destination for tourists traveling on the Thanksgiving holiday, and undoubtedly the iconic Macy’s parade is a big draw.