NEW YORK, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- New York City's 86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade will debut a new route along 6th Avenue, as well as some new balloons and floats, officials said.
The procession, which will include 16 giant character balloons, 40 novelty/ornament balloons, 28 floats, 1,600 cheerleaders and dancers, 900 clowns, 11 marching bands, a host of celebrity performers, will start at 9 a.m. on Nov. 22, Macy's said in a news release.
Organizers decided to move the parade to 6th Avenue because it is broader and a more accessible path that marks only the seventh time the Parade has changed its route, the release said.
"The 86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade will again make history as it debuts three impressive giant balloons, six over-the-top floats, an amazing array of talent and the most remarkable high school, college and professional marching bands in the nation," said Amy Kule, executive producer of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
She added, "As it has during turbulent times in our history, we hope the Macy's Parade serves as a beacon of hope and renewal for all Americans who will gather with friends and family to give thanks this season and begin to heal from the devastating aftermath of Superstorm Sandy."
The new character balloons include "The Elf on the Shelf" storybook character, Hello Kitty in a retro airplane and a dancing Papa Smurf, the New York Post reported.
Macy's veteran balloon designer John Piper said each new floater takes about a year to create.
"The payoff is seeing 3 million jaws dropping and 6 million eyes popping," he said. "Whether you're 3 or 103, you're a kid on Thanksgiving when those balloons go by."