The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has thrilled spectators for over three quarters of a century. This yearly event captures the imagination of its audience, regardless of their age.
History of the Macy’s Parade
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade originally began in 1924, but was in fact at first known as the Macy’s Christmas Day Parade. Featuring assorted animals from the nearby Central Park Zoo, this soon to be annual event was started by a small group of Macy’s employees.
Helium filled balloons were first used in the Parade in 1927. When the balloons were released above the city as part of the Parade’s Grand Finale, they unexpectedly burst over Manhattan. Thus, the helium balloons were redesigned in 1928 to include safety valves. These new valves allowed the balloons to float for days at a time. Each balloon had a return address label attached to it, with the offer of a prize from Macy’s if the balloon was returned safely to Macy’s. In 1929, the Macy’s designers worked with Walt Disney Productions, and showcased the Parade’s first Mickey Mouse balloon.
World War II brought the Parade to a halt from 1942-1944. Doing their part in the war effort, Macy’s deflated their balloons and donated the scrap rubber to the government, as rubber was in short supply.
Today’s current parade route was first used in 1946, to the delight and amazement of 2 million spectators. The first nationally televised Macy’s parade was in 1947, after having been locally televised in 1946.
Present Day Macy’s Parade
The present day Macy’s Parade is viewed by an estimated 50 million people on television, while up to 3.5 million people line the streets of Manhattan to take in this breathtaking 2 ½ mile spectacle. Featuring everything from celebrities to clowns to marching bands, combined with balloons (Snoopy has made the most appearances) and floats, this yearly event draws spectators from around the world. It takes the skill and dedication of more than 4,000 volunteers to make this family favorite event happen each year. Continuing to amaze audiences over the years, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has received many awards and accolades. Since 1979, the parade has won numerous television Emmys.
Macy’s Parade – Thanksgiving Day 2017
The 84th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will take place this year on November 25, 2017, beginning at 9am EST. Detailed Parade information, including the Parade route, can be found at the Macy’s website.