What to Expect From the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade

Thanksgiving is just days away, and that means the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is just down the block as well. This year’s festivities will include the classic floats, clowns, and marching bands, with a few new helium-filled balloons, such as Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Kung Fu Panda, and Murakami’s Kaikai & Kiki.

And celebrities will be present, too – oh yes! Scheduled to appear at the 84th annual parade are Kanye West, Jessica Simpson, Victoria Justice, Kylie Minogue, Gladys Knight, Joan Rivers, Jimmy Fallon and The Roots from Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and plenty more star-powered mortals.

Celebuzz joined in a conference call with ?uestlove, the amicable drummer from The Roots (who would also make an excellent Santa on the final float) to talk about his band’s second parade gig, a potential clothing line, and what he looks forward to most during the holiday season.

How do you prepare for parade day?

This time I will be uber-prepared with a lot of thermal gear to keep me warm, because playing drums in the cold for three hours straight is not a task that I prepared for before, so I kind of learned the hard way last year.

What are you most excited about?

Even though The Roots are going to hop a plane to London that night, I’m just looking forward to having fun with the guys. A lot of people ask what the transition was like going from 19 years of touring the world to doing Late Night, but this is really the time of our lives. We’re genuinely having fun and we don’t see this as work at all. The parade brings out the kid in all of us.

What are you planning on playing this year?

Last year we did a medley of about eight Christmas songs. We tried to cram eight songs into a two-minute period. So this year we’re going to do our version of “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” from Band Aid and Stevie Wonder’s “What Christmas Means To Me.” We’re entertaining the thought of doing it Temptations-style with choreography and that type of thing.

How do you find time to practice for the parade with your busy schedule?

Our day starts at around 6:00am and stops at 8:00pm. For me, my day stops at 2:00am or 3:00am, because as soon as the Late Night show is finished, we have to prep for other sketches, or I have to do studio work elsewhere. I guess the real question is: When do I get to eat and sleep?

After the parade is done, what Thanksgiving dish are you looking forward to?

Not many know, but our lead MC, Tariq “Black Thought,” provides the best culinary experience I’ve ever had. If he ever retired, he could have another life as a chef. So we’ll head to Tariq’s house to eat dinner.

You make your own t-shirts and have a couple shoe lines with Nike. Would you ever consider your own clothing line?

The idea’s nice, but I just make my own shirts because I happen to have resources and facilities. It was never my dream to be a fashion mogul or that type of thing; it’s more for fun. I will say that my next Nike sneaker comes out in February 2011, and it took me about a year to design.

What is your favorite Thanksgiving Day memory?

In 1984, I snuck off with my cousins to go see Prince perform at the Philadelphia Spectrum on Thanksgiving night, and I almost got away with it. On Sunday, my mom overheard that I went to the concert, but it was worth the punishment of no TV for a week. Prince is one of my favorite performers, so I enjoyed it.

Tags: The Roots