The nation's most beloved holiday event is right around the corner-the 87th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Since 1924, the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade has been the official kick-off to the holiday season. Each year, more than 50 million TV viewers-joined by 3.5 million people in New York City-tune in for this amazing event.
Originally known as Macy's Christmas Parade, the parade was started by Macy's employees and featured animals from the Central Park Zoo. Employees and professional entertainers dressed in vibrant costumes to march from 145th Street in Harlem to Macy's flagship store on 34th Street. That very first parade was such a success that Macy's declared it an annual event. Over 250,000 people attended the inaugural parade!
In 1927, the parade's signature giant balloons made their debut. The first-ever balloon in the Macy's Parade? Felix the Cat! In 1928, Felix was inflated with helium-so he could float above the city skyline at the parade's end. Since Felix, parade balloons have featured over 100 of the world's most beloved animated characters.
The parade continued to thrive through the 1930s, with a crowds of over 1 million people gathered in the city. Mickey Mouse made his parade debut in 1934.
During World War II, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade was suspended, due to demand for rubber and helium. Balloons were deflated and donated to the government, providing 60 pounds of scrap rubber to aid the war effort.
In 1945, the parade resumed-and two years later, Miracle on 34th Street made the Macy's Parade a household name. The film features live footage from the 1946 parade! The following year, the parade was broadcast on national television for the very first time.
Macy's creative team began building parade floats in 1968. To this day, parade floats continue to be designed exclusively by Macy's employees. Floats stand up to 40' tall and 28' wide, but each float can fold into a 12' by 8' box for easier transportation to the parade route.
Of all the famed balloons in the Macy's Parade, it's Snoopy who holds the record for the most balloons in parade history. The 7th version of the Snoopy balloon makes his parade debut in the 87th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Thursday, November 28.
If you can't make it to Manhattan in person, enjoy the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade live on NBC!