The Legacy of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

The Legacy of the Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade

For the 98th time in history, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will return to the streets of New York this Thanksgiving from 9:00 a.m. to noon. 

Every year on Thanksgiving, giant helium balloons decorate the skies of Manhattan, followed by floats, marching bands, singers, dancers, and Broadway performers parading through the streets. The parade has captivated millions of viewers since its start in the roaring ‘20s and continues to encourage buyers to begin holiday season shopping every year.

“In spite of its timing, the parade was not actually about Thanksgiving at all but the next major holiday on the calendar—Christmas,” History.com writer Christopher Klein said in his article. “Macy’s hoped its ‘Christmas Parade’ would whet the appetites of consumers for a holiday shopping feast.”

The Macy’s Day Parade is also known for inspiring patriotism and a lively atmosphere. In its origins, the parade showcased live zoo animals that marched down the street to wow the crowd. 

“A group of animals from the Central Park Zoo marched down a street in Harlem accompanied by a very special group of people: a handful of immigrant Macy’s employees, who wanted to express how thankful they were for living in the United States that year. “ People magazine writer Kate Hogan said in her article. 

The parade has captivated millions of viewers since its start in the roaring ‘20s and continues to encourage buyers to begin holiday season shopping every year.”

By 1928, the zoo animals were replaced with large animal shaped balloons made by Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. The large helium balloons, handled by 50-100 people at a time, remain their most famous attraction to this day.

This year’s parade will include 16 helium balloons, 28 floats, 12 marching bands, and a host of musical guests before closing out with an annual appearance from Santa Clause. 

“We’re hoping for a beautiful day like today, so we can have a nice, successful parade and celebrate all the wonderful art in the sky that we have prepared for everyone,” Executive Producer of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Will Cross, said in a Fox Weather article.