They’re a joyful bunch of turkeys!
Thick crowds of New Yorkers and tourists lined the streets of the Big Apple on Thursday, soaking up the sun and mild winter weather ahead of the 96th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
The iconic Thanksgiving tradition began at 9 a.m. on 77th and Central Park West, to the delight of onlookers hoping to catch a glimpse of classic balloons like Snoopy and Pikachu — as well as some of this year’s new additions like popular Australian children’s cartoon character, Bluey.
Marisa Lau, a teacher celebrating her 40th birthday all the way from Sacramento, California, has wanted to view the parade in person since she was a little girl.
“This is a dream come true for me,” Lau, sporting a pair of turkey earrings, told The Post from her viewpoint at 53rd and Sixth.
“This is the best Thanksgiving for me. It’s going to be bigger and better than on TV. I can’t wait to wave, cheer and scream. It’s going to bring my inner child back,” the excited spectator said.
The massive crowd drew in both locals and tourists looking to take part in a tradition that for many signals the official start of the holiday season — especially with Santa Claus making a special appearance to close out the event.
The self-proclaimed “Queen of Christmas” Mariah Carey even made an appearance.
The superstar singer dazzled in a bright pink gown and bejeweled crown, clutching a crystallized umbrella as she belted out her holiday hit “All I Want for Christmas Is You.”
Her 11-year-old twins with Nick Cannon, Moroccan and Monroe, flanked their famous mom, dancing to the catchy Christmas tune on giant green gift boxes.
But while the Queen of Christmas’ appearance turned the holiday spirit up a notch, some fans were quick to joke about her “low-energy” performance.
“Mariah Carey is getting millions right now to just stand there with her umbrella and honestly I’m not mad. Mad respect,” one Twitter user quipped.
“Mariah Carey lip syncing in place with this umbrella at 78% energy while her dancers perform like their lives hang in the balance on the Thanksgiving Parade is pure CAMP!!,” another joked.
Meanwhile, children were yelling, screaming, waving and calling out the names of their favorite characters as they floated or drove by on parade floats. At one point the festive crowd began to do the wave.
“I want to see the Bluey balloon,” Tsehai Burns, a 15-year-old from Flushing, Queens, told The Post. The teen was watching an episode of the show on her cellphone before the parade began.
The tenth grader, who has Crohn’s disease, recalled how the show inspired her when she was hospitalized from Halloween to Christmas Eve in 2019 with a lower intestine infection.
“I couldn’t eat. I was very skinny. I had to get surgery,” she said, adding that she is now in better health. Burns’ face lit up upon seeing her favorite character, Josh, standing on the float before the Bluey balloon.
“I shouted out his name. I wanted to take a selfie with him. He is my idol from when I was in the hospital. I had to get surgery and I watched him a lot. Josh helped me through my struggles in the hospital. Whenever I was sad, I watched Josh.”
Dawna Tsitrian, a substitute teacher from Rapid City, South Dakota, came with her daughter to celebrate her 80th birthday.
“I’ve always wanted to come since the 60s when we had a TV. I started watching it on my black-and-white TV — it was a little TV — and now I’m experiencing it live,” the young at heart Tsitrian said. “I chose to come on my 80th because you gotta move and grove.”
But not everything went off without a hitch.
Revelers watching the festivities on their TV screens had to cringe through 30 seconds of dead air when gaffe-prone President Biden, 80, and First Lady Jill Biden called in to NBC’s broadcast with Dylan Dreyer.
“Can you hear me, Mr. President,” Dreyer awkwardly asks as Biden can be quietly heard mumbling to the First Lady.
“We’re here!” the commander-in-chief eventually announces, laughing.
Macy’s beloved parade was back last year after going virtual during the COVID pandemic.
The extravaganza this year featured 16 giant character balloons, 28 floats, 40 novelty and heritage inflatables, 12 marching bands, 700 clowns, 10 performance groups and a slew of musical stars. The parade was put on by the work of over 5,000 volunteers.
The new balloons that hit New York City skies this year, included Bluey, Greg from beloved children’s book “Diary of a Wimp Kid,” the one-eyed Minion, Stuart, and Dino and Baby Dino, an electric green pair of dinosaurs.
Returning balloons included “Astronaut Snoopy,” “The Boss Baby,” Chase from “Paw Patrol,” the Pillsburgy Doughboy, Ronald McDonald, Red Titan from “Ryan’s World,” Papa Smurf from “The Smurfs,” “Spongebob Squarepants” and Pikachu and Eevee from “Pokémon”.