Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has been a staple in New York City since 1924. In fact, the name has become so synonymous with Thanksgiving and New York City that it is often shortened to just the Macy’s Day Parade. The parade is filled with fifty foot balloons, floats, dancers, cheerleaders, performance groups, clowns, marching bands, and celebrity performers! Thousands of people line up the two and a half mile route every year to catch a glimpse of this amazing event. The Macy’s Day Parade attracts more than 3.5 million people to the New York streets each year, along with 50 million viewers on TV. There is no other event like it to celebrate the holiday!
The first parade began in 1924, featuring Macy’s workers, performers, and even Central Park Zoo animals! The animals were replaced after the parade in 1926 with the classic balloons we know and love. In the beginning years of the parade, the balloons were intentionally let go into the air and whoever found and returned them was rewarded with money and prizes. This was stopped after a balloon accident with a plane (everyone was safe and unharmed but the balloons are now deflated on the ground)! During WWII, the parade was put on hold because the large amounts of helium and rubber from the balloons were donated to the war effort on Macy’s behalf. In 1948, the parade was televised for the first time by NBC and they have kept on the tradition ever since! Along with that tradition, in 1966 the Radio City Rockettes performed for the first time and have been doing so every year. There are also balloons which have been featured every year- and who can forget Santa Claus at the end!
This year the parade is set to begin at 9:00 a.m. EST. The parade starts at 77th Street and Central Park West. The event goes through Columbus Circle and down Central Park towards 6th Avenue. It will then end at 7th Avenue and 3rd Street.
This year the balloons featured include: the Pillsbury Doughboy, the Red Power Ranger, Hello Kitty, Pikachu, Spongebob, Elf on the Shelf, Charlie Brown, Paw Patrol, Frozen’s Olaf, The Macy’s classic (Yellow Stars, Harold the Policeman and Fireman, String of Christmas Lights), and so much more. Some fun floats include ones themed to Sesame Street, Winter Wonderland, Build-a-Bear, and of course Christmas. Also, this year there are many fun performers like the Rockettes, Bebe Rexha, Common, and 98 degrees. Don’t miss out on the magical and amazing marching bands and performance groups from around the country too!