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 beloved event through Manhattan.
Macys Herald Square _ Photo by Joe Buglewicz - Courtesy of NYC & COOriginally 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!
Macys ParadeIn 1927, the parade's signature giant balloons made their debut. The first-ever balloon in the Macy's Parade? Felix the Cat! The next year, Felix was filled with helium and simply released into the sky at the end of the parade. Macy’s continued to release balloons skyward until 1932. 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.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade - Photo Courtesy of Macy's, Inc.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 Thanksgiving Day Parade - Photo by Joe BuglewiczMacy'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. Head into NYC or turn on your television to see this year’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!

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