Cheerleader’s dream comes true at Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade

By Nhung Lam


Millions of spectators crowded the streets of New York to experience one of the largest parades in the world, the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, on Nov. 22.

Each year, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade displays an impressive array of balloons, balloonicles, floats, performers, marching bands, clowns and performance groups. This year’s parade included 16 giant balloons, 43 novelty balloons, 31 floats, about 1,200 dancers and cheerleaders, 12 marching bands and about 1,000 clowns.

This year, an MTHS student got the opportunity to participate in the parade. Directed by Roger Hayes, a former cheerleader for Tulane University, the NFL New Orleans Saints and Mississippi State University, organized the cheerleaders for the parade. Senior Britta Sinclair, an MTHS cheerleader, performed in the Spirit of America Cheer alongside 500 other cheerleaders from all over the nation.

Sinclair has wanted to participate in the parade since 2015. However, it was not until June of 2018 that she decided to apply. Potential performers must submit an application online to Macy’s.

At first, Sinclair wasn’t confident that she would be accepted into the program, but since Sinclair is a captain on the MTHS cheer team, she was automatically accepted.  Most people had to submit an audition.

Once Sinclair was accepted, she and her mother immediately booked their rooms and plane tickets. Prior to going to New York, the cheerleaders had to learn three sets of choreography. Sinclair spent a month and a half perfecting the techniques.

They both flew in the Saturday before Thanksgiving for the parade. On the day Sinclair arrived, she immediately had a three and a half hour practice. The next day, Sinclair had three more practice sessions, two in the morning and one at night, each about three and a half hours long.

The cheerleaders needed to practice frequently because NBC is required to approve their performance on the Monday before the parade.

The cheerleaders had one last practice before the parade on Thursday, which was a full dress rehearsal. Parents were allowed to watch the dress rehearsal performance. Right before the parade, the cheerleaders ran through the entire routine twice, making sure everything was perfected.

Although Sinclair had to attend many practice sessions in preparation for Thursday, she was able to participate in many other activities in New York City. One of her favorite moments was seeing the Broadway showing of Aladdin. “It was so cool to see an actual show on Broadway,” Sinclair said.

She saw several other sights while in New York, including the Statue of Liberty, One World Observatory, 9/11 Memorial, Empire State Building and the Fierce Girl and Bull on Wall Street.

One of Sinclair’s favorite moments, besides participating in the parade, was, “seeing the Rockettes perform their Holiday Spectacular… it was so beautiful, it made me feel like I was dreaming.”

Sinclair also went down to Central Park to watch all the balloons that were going to be in the parade being blown up.

“While my mom and I were waiting in line to see the balloons it started snowing. It was like a scene from a movie, snowing in NYC,” Sinclair said.

“My best memory was probably getting to be in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade with a bunch of people who share the same passion with me. Also just meeting new people who I became such good friends with and I hope that we will continue to stay friends even though most of them live on the east coast.”

With this newfound experience from New York City, Sinclair hopes to incorporate some new choreography she learned into her performances.

“One thing that was very different but I liked a lot that they did was [they] had more drastic formation,” Sinclair said.

Sinclair made it a point that she wants people to know how much work cheerleaders put into their routines and choreography.

“It takes hours of practice for us to perfect stunts and I think people don’t always realize that… it takes so much time and dedication,” Sinclair said.