Traditions don’t get much more iconic than Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, with the marching bands, celebrities, and, of course, the balloon characters all captivating the millions who watch each year. For Dice’s family, the Macy’s Parade is the start to a beautiful day of gratitude, cooking and eating, watching TV, tryptophan-induced naps, and, Dice’s favorite, Trivial Pursuit with the neighbors!
Here’s a trivial look into some of the history about the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
1924 – Macy’s Makes Magic
The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was actually called the Macy’s Christmas Parade and featured live camels, elephants, and donkeys borrowed from the Central Park Zoo. More than 800 Macy’s employees participated and were joined by 250,000 spectators, making a 6-mile route through NYC. In 1925, live lions, tigers, and bears were added to the parade, but most live animals were removed after just two years because they scared children. Today, organizers expect about 3.5 million people to line the parade route.
1927 – Felix’s First Float
Forget wild zoo animals, what could be more fantastic than gigantic helium-filled animal-shaped balloons slowly floating down the streets of NYC? Since 1927 when they retired the live animals, over 170 different balloons have been flown. Today, Macy’s is the nation’s second largest consumer of helium behind the U.S. government, with the average float needing 12,000 cubic feet of helium to inflate and capable of lifting 750 pounds.
1947 – A Macy’s “Miracle”
Footage from the actual 1946 Macy’s parade was used in the 1946 holiday classic, Miracle on 34th Street, but the parade didn’t begin to broadcast nationally until 1947. Since 1952, the parade has been broadcast on NBC, appearing in color for the first time in 1960. Today, over 50 million people are expected to tune in.
1968 – Snoopy Soars Supreme
Since 1968, no balloon has appeared more times than Snoopy, who has been immortalized seven times, leading five-timers Mickey Mouse and Ronald McDonald. In 1993, Sonic the Hedgehog became the first video game character to be a float. For the 90th parade, Macy’s is unveiling balloons for Dreamworks Trolls movie, Charlie Brown, Felix the Cat, and Greg Heffley from the fictional Diary of a Wimpy Kid book series.
What’s your favorite part of parades? Let us know in the comments!