NEW YORK — Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade this year will have some big names to go along with the big balloons.
Macy's on Tuesday announced the list of celebrity performers for the event, covering the musical gamut from pop to hip-hop to folk. Among those scheduled to perform are Kanye West, Jessica Simpson, Colombian rock singer Juanes, Arlo Guthrie, Gladys Knight, boy band Big Time Rush and teen singer Victoria Justice.
The range of musical styles and generations is intentional, to match the diversity of the audience that turns out to watch the parade in person and on television, said Orlando Veras, a spokesman for the parade.
"We want to make sure we are capturing people who are in the zeitgeist," he said.
The parade coordinators work with the artists on their song choices, and all of the performances will be "family friendly," he said.
The 84th parade, a quintessential part of the city's calendar, sends marchers, celebrities, performers, floats and giant balloons across the city's streets and avenues, starting on Central Park West and ending in front of Macy's on 34th Street.
Among the new giant balloons taking to the sky for the first time this year will be Kool-Aid Man, Kung-Fu Panda, and one in the animated image of Virginia O' Hanlon. O'Hanlon was the little girl who wrote to a newspaper asking if Santa Claus was real. The editor's response became famous — "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus."
Those balloons will be joining crowd favorites like Buzz Lightyear, Ronald McDonald, Pikachu and Snoopy dressed as the Flying Ace.
Other celebrities expected to participate include India Arie, Keri Hilson, Miranda Cosgrove and the casts of Broadway shows "American Idiot," ''Elf," ''Memphis," and "Million Dollar Quartet."
The parade will follow the same route it inaugurated last year, coming down 7th and 6th avenues and turning around five corners. The route had to be changed when vehicles were prohibited from traveling on parts of Broadway.