One of the oldest Thanksgiving parades in the country, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade – commonly referred to as simply the Macy’s Day Parade – has been an annual event in New York since 1924... ... read more
One of the oldest Thanksgiving parades in the country, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade – commonly referred to as simply the Macy’s Day Parade – has been an annual event in New York since 1924, drawing upwards of three-million live spectators and a TV audience in excess of forty million.
The Macy’s Day Parade’s history is rooted in that classic American melting pot axiom. Many of the Macy’s department store employees were first-generation immigrants in the 20s, and they were looking for a way to celebrate their cultural heritage with a parade reminiscent of the traditional street festivities common in Europe.
Although much smaller than the present day event, the first Macy’s Day Parade had many of the same components, with employees and professional entertainers in costume, along with bands, floats, and even live animals from the Central Park Zoo.
These days the live animals stay at home, making room for the several dozen massive balloons, ornate floats, and hundreds of live music and other performers who take part in the Macy’s Day Parade every year.
Pop-culture characters dominate the balloon designs, with block-length SpongeBobs, Barneys, and Babars lurching down the Macy’s Day Parade route, which normally begins on 77th Street and Central Park West.
Floats like a mini-version of Mount Rushmore, the Sesame Street set, Marvel Comic icons, and even Masters of the Universe join Broadway performers, college marching bands, and lots of famous singers as everyone proceeds south along Central Park to Columbus Circle, then ventures two blocks east to proceed down Sixth Avenue before eventually terminating at Herald Square.
Towards the end of the Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Day Parade, as it has been since the very beginning, Santa Claus is welcomed into Herald Square.