“Originally known as Macy’s Christmas Parade-to signify the launch of the Christmas shopping season-the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade took place in New York City in 1924. It was launched by Macy’s employees and featured animals from the Central Park Zoo. Today, some 3 million people attend the annual parade and another 44 million watch it on television.” — www.history.com
Who doesn’t watch the fun and amazing parade? Either in person or on T.V. It’s great to watch when your just getting started on the turkey for Thanksgiving. I wanted to know more about this nationally broadcasted event.
The inaugural parade went from 145th Street in Harlem to Macy’s store on 34th Street. In 1924 Santa Claus was crowned on the Macy’s balcony store entrance, where he was then “King of the Kiddies”. Large animal balloons replaced the live animals in 1927 and were provided by the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in Akron, Ohio in which Felix the Cat first appeared. The parade was broadcast on local New York radio from 1932 through 1941, though through 1942 to 1944, the parade didn’t happen because of the war, and resumed with local broadcast in 1945 through 1951. The Mickey Mouse balloon came in, in 1934. In 1947 the parade became more national after it’s appearance in the movie ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ with shots taken from the 1946 parade.
The new route for the parade is now, as of 2009, “From 77th Street and Central Park West, the route goes south along Central Park to Columbus Circle, then goes east along Central Park South. The parade then makes a right turn at 7th Avenue and goes south to Times Square. At 42nd Street the parade turns left and goes east, then at 6th Avenue turns right again. Heading south on 6th Avenue, the parade turns right at 34th Street (Herald Square) and proceeds west to the terminating point at 7th Avenue where the floats are taken down.” (www.wikipedia.com) The 2009 route change eliminates Broadway completely. Giving more space for spectators.
If your wondering about the balloons, which ones have been in the parade and when they made their appearance, I’ll simplify it for you by naming them in chronological order (1927 to current): Felix the Cat, Mickey Mouse, Uncle Sam, Eddie Cantor (only living person depicted as a balloon), Artie the Pirate, Lucky Pup and Mighty Mouse, Popeye, Happy Dragon, Bullwinkle, Donald Duck, Sinclair Oil Dinosaur (I have the stuffed animal of him) and Elsie the Cow, Linus the Lionhearted, Under Dog, Smokey the Bear and Superman, Aviator Snoopy; the smiley face, the 2nd variant of Mickey Mouse, and Astronuat Snoopy (tribute to Apollo 11); Weeble, Kermit the Frog, Superman (2nd version), Olive Oyl, Yogi Bear, Garfield and Raggedy Ann, Betty Boop, Baby Shamu and Humpty Dumpty; Spiderman, Ronald McDonald, Snuggle Bear, and Skating Snoopy (3rd version); Nestle Nesquik Bunny, Big Bird, Pink Panther, and the 4th version of Snoopy with his pal Woodstock; Bugs Bunny, Clifford the Big Red Dog and Bart Simpson, Babar the Elephant, Goofy; dog version of Beethoven, Rex, and Sonic the Hedgehog; Barney the Dinosaur and The cat in the Hat; Dudley the Dragon, SkyDancer, Eben Bear, and Izzy; Rocky/Bullwinkle and Peter Rabbit; Arthur, the Rugrats, and Bumpe; Babe the Pig, Wild Thing and Dexter; Millenium Snoopy (5th version), Honey Nut Cheerios Bee, Blue’s Clues, and Petulia Pig; Bandleader Mickey (3rd version), the and version of Ronald McDonald, Jeeves, and Cassie from Dragon Tales; Curious George, Big Bird (2nd version), Jimmy Neutron, Pikachu, Cheesasaurus Rex, Happy Hippo, Toy Soldier; Kermit the Frog (2nd version), Little Bill (First African-American character in parade history), Rich Uncle Pennybags, Charlie Brown; Strike Up the Band Barney (2nd version), Super Grover, Garfield (2nd version); SpongeBob SquarePants, Disney’s Chicken Little, M&M’s; Dora the Explorer (first character of Latino descent in parade history), Scooby-Doo, Healthy Mr. Potato Head, JoJo, Upsidedown Humpty Dumpty by Tom Otterness; Pikachu with Poké Ball (2nd version, first balloon with built-in electric power to light up cheeks), Flying Ace Snoopy (6th version); Shrek, Hello Kitty, Abby Cadabby, Jeff Koons”Bunny”, Artie the Pirate (2nd version (replica of 1947 balloon); Horton the Elephant, Buzz Lightyear, and a Smurf. This years balloons will be Pillsbury Doughboy, Mickey Mouse (4th version; “Cruiseship Mickey”), Ronald McDonald (3rd version), and Spider-Man (2nd version). For more information about the balloons and on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macy’s_Thanksgiving_Day_Parade
My that is a lot of balloons!