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Sonic, Pikachu, Eevee, and Baby Yoda headline 2021 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

It Feels Like The First Time that old rockers Foreigner will appear, too

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade - Season 93
Pikachu’s ‘Snowman Pikachu’ balloon made seven Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade appearances, out of 20 so far for the Pokémon character. He’s getting a new balloon this year, riding along with Evee in a Pokéball-themed sled.
Photo: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Sonic the Hedgehog, Pikachu and Eevee, Baby Yoda, and 1980s ballad rockers Foreigner headline the 95th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, a feety-pajamas Thanksgiving morning tradition for fans young and old alike. It airs on Thursday, Nov. 25, beginning at 9 a.m. EST.

NBC is carrying the broadcast, available either from your local network affiliate or the NBC app on iOS or Android. The Today Show’s Al Roker, Hoda Kotb, and Savannah Guthrie will be providing the play-by-play and analysis. The parade also airs on delay at 9 a.m. PST, so folks on the West Coast don’t have to get up early.

Celebrated Vtuber Sonic is returning to the parade to celebrate his 30th birthday. Sega is rolling out its “modern Sonic” balloon, used from 2011 to 2013, for the occasion. 2013 is also the most recent year the Blue Blur made an appearance, one of eight in his lifetime.

Pikachu will make its 21st Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade appearance, good for fifth place, all time, among characters appearing as balloons. The Pokémon mascot is one appearance behind Kermit the Frog (22 parades, most recently 2012) and tied with Mickey Mouse and, of all things, Sinclair Oil’s dinosaur, a staple from 1963 to 1976, which returned in 2015 to promote the company’s 100th anniversary the next year.

This year, Pikachu and Eevee will debut The Pokémon Company’s newest balloon design, riding together in a Pokéball-themed sleigh. This year’s balloon is about 30% smaller (by volume) than the version that paraded from 2014-2020, but it still needs the standard 90 handlers to wrangle it.

And Baby Yoda (Grogu, for non-SEO purposes) marches down Sixth Avenue sponsored by Funko, which means Grogu’s design is based on his vinyl Funko Pop. He’s wearing his Joe Namath fur coat and chasing after The Mandalorian’s gear shifter.

Finally, Dragon Ball’s Goku will also return, in balloon form, for his third appearance at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

For those in New York, the annual balloon inflation will be on Wednesday, Nov. 24 from noon to 6 p.m. Fans must show proof of COVID-19 vaccination before entering the free event at 72nd St. and Columbus Ave.