Thanksgiving wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without waking up and tuning into the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! I remember as a kid, my little brother and I would get up early and plant ourselves in front of the television and watch the magical balloons, floats, and marching bands. We knew after the parade was over, dad would turn the channel to begin watching a marathon of football games for the rest of the day.
The parade was ‘our’ time and a right of passage for every kid!
The most popular holiday parade in America, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade NY has been a tradition since 1924. Attracting more than 3.5 million people to the streets of New York City each year, as well 50 million TV viewers nationwide, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has become synonymous with Thanksgiving tradition.
The first-ever Macy’s Day Parade actually took place on Christmas of 1924. Macy’s employees dressed as clowns, cowboys, and other fun costumes, and traveled with Central Park zoo animals and creative floats a lengthy six miles from Herald Square to Harlem in Manhattan.
The parade was meant to draw attention to the Macy’s store in NYC, and the gimmick worked – more than 250,000 people attended the inaugural Macy’s Day Parade. It was decided that this NYC parade would become an annual NY event in Manhattan.
In 1927, Felix the Cat became the first giant balloon to ever take part in the Macy’s Day Parade. In 1928, Felix was inflated with helium, and without a plan to deflate this massive balloon, NYC parade organizers simply let Felix fly off into the sky. Unfortunately, he popped soon thereafter.
The Macy’s Day Parade continued to let the balloons fly off in subsequent years, only these balloons would have a return address written on them, and whoever found the balloon could return the balloon for a prize from Macy’s.
Here are some vintage video clips of past parades!
Vintage Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Montage
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 1930’s
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 1935
Superman Balloon in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 1940
Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade 1941
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 1947
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 1951
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 1960’s