Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is Set to Soar in 87th Year

It’s that time again! It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and what better way to start the holiday season off then by experiencing the most spectacular holiday celebration in the world, the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

It all began 90 years ago, when Macy’s employees used animals from the Central Park Zoo to take part in their parade. Many of the employees were first-generation immigrants and wanted to celebrate their new culture by bringing some of their old ways of living over from Europe to America and incorporate their festive lifestyles into the parade. Participants were so enthused about the outcome and joy it brought to the quarter-of-a-million onlookers that Macy’s decided to make it an annual event.

Felix the Cat, the first-ever character balloon, made its debut in 1927, launching the beginning of an all-star list including over 100 of the world’s most renowned characters. In 1924, Macy’s partnered up with Walt Disney and debuted the parade’s first Mickey Mouse balloon. Since then, Mickey’s good pal Goofy has also joined the lineup.

But not everything was always smooth sailing. The parade was put on hold from 1942 to 1944 due to rubber and helium shortages during World War II. Not to worry though, as the parade returned the following year, and in 1946, the parade was televised for the first time and went to a national audience in 1947.

As each year progressed, the parade grew more and more popular, earning its first Emmy for outstanding achievement in 1979. Since then, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has won 11 more Emmy awards.

Snoopy first made his parade debut in 1968. With seven different versions, including the newest one being debuted this year, Snoopy has made history as being the character with the most balloons. For senior Megan Enright, Snoopy has always been her favorite balloon.

“I’ve been a huge fan of Snoopy ever since I was a little girl, and I wait the whole parade just to watch it fly across my screen,” Enright said.

A huge part of what makes the parade so successful each year is not only the exciting balloons and floats but also the numerous performers, marching bands and cheerleaders who come together to help celebrate the holiday season. Every year the list gets more and more exciting, and this year is no exception.

“Everything about the parade makes me happy,” said sophomore Jamie Berghahn, an avid viewer. “I anxiously wait all year to see what new balloons are added and what celebrity will be performing. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and the Macy’s Day Parade just adds to my love for the holidays.” 

The 87th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will be comprised of 30 floats, 15 giant character balloons, 37 novelty balloons, 1,600 cheerleaders, 900 clowns, 11 marching bands and many celebrity performers.

With 30 floats, you can expect to see a variety of fan favorites, such as the Cornucopia, Santa’s Sleigh, The Smurfs, A World at Sea and Tom the Turkey. This year, the giant balloon lineup added four new balloons: Adventure Time with Finn and Jake, Snoopy and his pal Woodstock, SpongeBob SquarePants, and the dragon Toothless from “How to Train Your Dragon.” You can also expect to see a special appearance by The Wizard of Oz hot air balloon, Ronald McDonald, Buzz Lightyear and Spider-Man, among others.

If that isn’t enough entertainment for one parade, celebrities such as Kellie Pickler, Gavin DeGraw, Big Apple Circus, Fall Out Boy and the Robertson family from “Duck Dynasty” will be there.

With an estimated 3.5 million people in attendance and another 50 million tuning in from their own living rooms, the 87th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is one you won’t want to miss.