NEW YORK, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- The 83rd annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York is to feature new giant character balloons such as the Pillsbury Doughboy and Sailor Mickey.
Also set to be included in the Nov. 26 festivities are new Ronald McDonald and Spider-Man balloons, as well as "Local Heroes Helping Everyday" and "Yo Gabba Gabba Live!" floats. Santa Claus is to help ring in the Christmas season by riding his first new sleigh in 40 years.
About 3.5 million spectators are expected to line the streets of Manhattan for the annual parade, while as many as 50 million viewers watch the pageantry on television.
"Having marched down parts of Broadway for 82 years, the 2009 procession will be the first to bypass Broadway in the long running march," organizers said in a release Monday. "Over the years, the Macy's Parade route has changed five times traveling through several different paths, from having initially stepped off in Harlem to its current 77th Street launch, the route has changed with the times.
The 2009 Macy's Parade will begin at 77th Street and Central Park West, travel down to Columbus Circle where it will turn onto Central Park South. Once the parade reaches 7th Avenue, it will turn once more and march down 7th Avenue through Times Square to 42nd Street. At the famed intersection, it will turn east to 6th Avenue and begin its final march down the Avenue of the Americas to 34th Street where it will turn towards Macy's famed flagship and end at 7th Avenue marking a 2.65-mile march."
Macy's did not give a reason for the change in the parade route.