This time of year we celebrate the holidays and its traditions. Thanksgiving brings on lots of food, family and fun. One major Thanksgiving tradition is watching the Macy’s Day parade.
A Thanksgiving Day Tradition From Childhood
Since I was a small child, this TV event was a regular part of my Thanksgiving Day celebration. . I would get up early in the morning still in my pjs, grab a bowl of cereal and park myself right in front of the TV. For the next few hours my eyes were glued to the screen watching the huge helium balloons, colorful and beautiful floats and listening to the many marching bands.
Each year something new and exciting happened with the parade . It could be new helium balloon cartoon characters and a list of popular musicians and entertainers. The marching bands held a special place for me. My mother was in a collegiate marching band and later I attended Florida A&M University, famous for the infamous Marching 100.
While I was captivated by all the sights and sounds of the parade my parents were busy in the kitchen preparing our Thanksgiving meal. My dad would do the major cooking of smoked turkey, ham with pineapples, collard greens, mac and cheese and sweet potato pie. While my mother cooked and prepared the cornbread dressing with giblet gravy. Sometimes they would call me in to do a taste test otherwise I was barred from the kitchen until they were done. Of course, I had no problem with that command because the Macy’s Day Parade was on and I didn’t want to miss a minute.
Tried to Continue After Blindness
Years later, as an adult I still continued this Thanksgiving day tradition. Dawning my pjs and holding my cereal bowl I sat on my sofa and watched the proceedings again. It was just like old times. After vision loss I made attempts to watch it but after a couple of tries I knew it was not going to work.
The Macy’s Day Parade was too visual. Too many things to figure out. Too many things I couldn’t enjoy anymore. So, for years I let this tradition go and just kept my memories.
What is Audio Description
But about 3 years ago I noticed audio description became available for this parade. An audio described TV show or movie is when images, scenes, actions and descriptions of the actor’s appearance are described during natural pauses in the production. It allows the blind or visually impaired viewer to know what is happening and enjoy the film along with their sighted peers.
Audio description is available in a variety of mediums such as analog TV, streaming services, DVDs, cable, satellite and movie theaters. Additionally, you can find audio description available at live theatrical performances and museums. The Macy’s Day Parade was audio described live by Descriptive Video Works, Where I sit as an advisory committee member.
Audio Description Brought Tradition Back
I was so excited to reintroduce this Thanksgiving Day tradition into my life again. Even during the pandemic, The parade aired. Although condensed with a shorter route and no live audience on the street, it was still great. I got to hear one of my favorite entertainers, Patti LaBelle, sing. Woohoo! This year was the 96th anniversary. There was a performance from the Lion King, more balloons, floats and several marching bands. Then a finale of Santa Claus and Mariah Carey singing her famous song, “All I Want for Christmas is You.”
Like the Thanksgiving meal, it just wouldn’t be the same without watching this parade. I am just so glad and grateful audio description lets me keep this Thanksgiving tradition. And hopefully for many more years to come.