One of the most famous parades in the world today is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. How much do you know about this parade? Here are eight facts about the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade that you probably never knew before.
The parade first started in 1924 as Macy’s transferred a parade that took place in Newark, New Jersey and moved it to Manhattan. This parade was made up of floats, marching bands, and live animals borrowed from the Central Park Zoo. It was such a success that Macy’s decided to continue the tradition every year.
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is known for their giant balloon characters. The first balloons appeared in 1927 as a replacement for the live zoo animals. The first ever character balloon appeared in 1931 and it was a balloon of Felix the Cat.
At the conclusion of the 1928 parade, the balloons were all released into the sky. The balloons unexpectedly burst from the altitude, so safety valves were installed the next year to allow them to float around in the sky for a few days. The balloons had address labels sewn into them so that whoever found them could mail them back and receive a gift card from Macy’s.
The parade gained nationwide fame after it was prominently featured in the 1947 film Miracle on 34th Street. The film featured actual footage of the 1946 parade. The parade was then broadcast on network television for the first time in 1948.
The parade route starts beside Central Park and ends a few blocks down from Times Square for a total length of six miles.
The arrival of Santa Claus at the end of the parade marks the official start of the Christmas season.
There have been a few injuries to parade-goers as a result of wayward balloons. In 1993, a Sonic the Hedgehog balloon crashed into a lamppost and injured a child and an off-duty policeman. In 2005, an M&M’s balloon got caught in a streetlight in Times Square and broke off a few parts which fell into the crowd and injured two sisters.
In 1997, high winds pushed a Cat in the Hat balloon into a lamppost, and the falling debris struck a woman and left her in a coma for a month. She eventually sued Macy’s and the city for $395 million but settled for an undisclosed amount. Coincidentally, in 2006, the same bad luck prone woman had a small plane crash into her unoccupied Manhattan apartment.
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