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26 Celebrities Who've Been in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Julie Sprankles is a freelance writer living in the storied city of Charleston, SC. When she isn't slinging sass for SheKnows, she enjoys watching campy SyFy creature features (Pirahnaconda, anyone?), trolling the internet for dance work...

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A time-honored (and star-studded) tradition

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A time-honored (and star-studded) tradition

Each year, people flock to the streets of New York City or crowd around the TV from the coziness of home to watch one of the most highly anticipated events of the year: the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Since its inception in 1924, the parade has become a holiday tradition held in the utmost regard. (Fun fact: The first Macy’s parade was actually held on Christmas Day!) It’s grown as integral to Thanksgiving as turkey and cranberry sauce in American households. While the parade was originally designed as a clever marketing gimmick to bring new customers to Macy’s, it’s evolved into a symbol of the season.

So it’s not surprising that celebrities can’t resist the nostalgic allure of this special event, either. From Tony Bennett to Ariana Grande, Whoopi Goldberg to Shawn Mendes, stars descend upon the Big Apple on Thanksgiving Day each year to participate in this bucket-list tradition.

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Brett Eldredge

Izzy/WENN
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Brett Eldredge

Looking dapper at the 87th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, country crooner Brett Eldredge belted out the holiday classic "Let It Snow." 

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Carly Rae Jepsen

WENN
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Carly Rae Jepsen

Carly Rae Jepsen rocked the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2012 by performing her hit single "This Kiss." Bonus? The singer made fighting off the frigid air look stylish in a chic, eclectic ensemble. 

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Daya

Joseph Marzullo/WENN
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Daya

Not many people could stay focused atop an NHL float surrounded by men on unicycles juggling. But Daya did and then some at the parade in 2016, where she slayed while performing her song "Words."  

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Gene Simmons

Izzy/WENN
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Gene Simmons

It's not a real party until Gene Simmons sticks his tongue out! The rocker and the rest of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame band Kiss drove the crowd crazy performing their classic "Rock and Roll All Nite." 

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Grace VanderWaal

WENN
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Grace VanderWaal

America's Got Talent winner Grace VanderWaal rode atop the Goldieblox float in 2016 while strumming her trademark ukelele and singing "I Don't Know My Name." 

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Idina Menzel

Dennis Van Tine/Future Image/WENN
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Idina Menzel

Idina Menzel, the voice of Frozen's Elsa, did her best not to, you know, freeze during her rendition of "All I Want for Christmas Is You" from her album Holiday Wishes

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Jennette McCurdy

WENN
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Jennette McCurdy

Sam & Cat star Jennette McCurdy cruised along on the Goldfish float for her first parade appearance in 2012. 

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Debby Ryan

Mr. Blue/WENN
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Debby Ryan

Disney star Debby Ryan told MTV of riding on a float in the parade, "It's crazy and surreal and definitely one of those bucket-list moments." 

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Jordin Sparks

Dennis Van Tine/Future Image/WENN
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Jordin Sparks

Jordin Sparks wasn't going to let frigid temps keep her from delivering a stellar show! The singer got the crowd moving with her upbeat performance of "Right Here, Right Now."

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Kellie Pickler

Izzy/WENN
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Kellie Pickler

Wearing Badgley Mischka and looking every bit the belle of the ball, country cutie Kellie Pickler sang her twangy hit single "Little Bit Gypsy" at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2013. 

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Jimmy Fallon

Mr. Blue/WENN
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Jimmy Fallon

Jimmy Fallon and the Roots shared a float with the Sesame Street gang for a truly one-of-a-kind performance of "Somebody Come and Play." 

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Jennifer Nettles

WENN
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Jennifer Nettles

Country superstar Jennifer Nettles couldn't have picked a better song to perform during the 2015 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. While riding the Domino's Sugar float, she belted out her hit single "Sugar." Cute!

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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

WENN
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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar marched in the festivities at the 85th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. 

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Mariah Carey

Izzy/WENN
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Mariah Carey

Although Mariah Carey looked like the Queen of Christmas at the parade in 2015, fans had a fit after she reportedly lip-synced her way through the OG version of her holiday hit "All I Want for Christmas Is You." 

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Kelsea Ballerini

Dennis Van Tine/Future Image/WENN
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Kelsea Ballerini

Country darling Kelsea Ballerini dazzled at the parade in 2016, where she delivered a stunning performance of her smash hit "Peter Pan." 

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Lucy Hale

Dennis Van Tine/Future Image/WENN
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Lucy Hale

The always adorable Lucy Hale of Pretty Little Liars fame made an appearance at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade to indulge her other passion: music. Hale sang the song "Lie a Little Better" from her debut country album. 

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Kristin Chenoweth

Ivan Nikolov/WENN
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Kristin Chenoweth

Petite powerhouse Kristin Chenoweth is an endless source of entertainment, as evidenced by her super-spirited performance of "New York, New York" at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2013.

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Meghan Trainor

Izzy/WENN
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Meghan Trainor

Pop princess Meghan Trainor didn't disappoint at the parade in 2014 with a fun and feisty rendition of her hit single "Lips Are Moving." 

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Sabrina Carpenter

Dennis Van Tine/Future Image/WENN
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Sabrina Carpenter

Girl Meets World star Sabrina Carpenter made her first Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade appearance in 2014, and the actress-singer is set to perform in this year's as well. 

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Richard Simmons

Gene Simmons/WENN
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Richard Simmons

Exercise guru Richard Simmons couldn't contain his excitment at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2013, during which he did cart aerobics and gushed over Kellie Pickler. 

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Shawn Mendes

Izzy/WENN
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Shawn Mendes

You could practically hear the preteen girls swooning when Shawn Mendes performed his hit single "Stitches" at the 89th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. 

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Tony Bennett

Izzy/WENN
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Tony Bennett

You know it's a good day in the universe when icons Tony Bennett and Miss Piggy team up for a performance of "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town." 

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Whoopi Goldberg

Joseph Marzullo/WENN
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Whoopi Goldberg

Whoopi Goldberg took a break from her cohosting duties at The View to partake of this classic holiday celebration by greeting parade-goers from atop a festive float. 

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Trace Adkins

Kyle Blair/WENN
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Trace Adkins

Country officially came to town (aka NYC) for the 86th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade! Trace Adkins and a slew of other top county stars performed on the special day. 

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Zendaya

Mr. Blue/WENN
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Zendaya

Zendaya made herself at home on the Build-a-Bear float, where she introduced her single "Dig Down Deeper."

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