The Student News Site of Trinity High School

The Hiller

The Student News Site of Trinity High School

The Hiller

The Student News Site of Trinity High School

The Hiller

Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade captivates viewers across nation

This image was accessed via Google Images under the Creative Commons License
Pictured is a giant Snoopy balloon and two Macy’s balloons being transported down 34th Street during the parade in 2010.

In 1924, the Macy’s department store kicked off its first annual Thanksgiving Parade. The initial parade took place in Manhattan with floats, animals from the Central Park Zoo and store employees dressed up in costumes. It is tied for America’s second oldest Thanksgiving Parade, with the parade in Detroit starting that same year. Immediately, the parade was a huge success and the store knew that they had to make this an annual event.

A few years afterward, in 1927, gigantic balloons began being featured in the parade. The first balloon was Felix the Cat, an anthropomorphic black and white cat that is considered to be one of the most recognized cartoon characters in media. 

These balloons replaced the animals from the zoo, becoming a source of nostalgia for people who grew up watching the parade.

Sydney Klick, sophomore, states, “My favorite part of the parade is watching the balloons. I used to always look forward to seeing them when I was younger, so they remind me of my childhood.”

During the 1930s, the parade continued to grow and grow and NYC radio stations began featuring it from 1932 to 1941. 

During WWII, the parade stopped. The lack of rubber, helium and other supplies needed for balloons and floats couln´t be supplied to causes like a parade. 

The parade had its big debut when it was featured in the classic film “Miracle on 34th Street.” This made the public even more excited and aware of the parade.

In 1953, the parade premiered on TV on NBC from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. EST. This became a good way to watch the parade for anyone who enjoyed it but were unable to attend live. 

Klick explains, “My family does watch the parade together. It has been our Thanksgiving tradition every year to watch the parade on TV until our celebrations.”

In 1968, Macy’s creative team decided they needed to step it up and started to build more extravagant floats, which are still exclusively designed by Macy’s employees to this day.

Since 1985, the parade has been led down the Manhattan streets by the New York City Police Department Highway Patrol. This ended for one year in 2019 when the cast of Sesame Street led the parade to celebrate the show’s 50th anniversary.

During Covid-19, the parade shrunk into a much smaller event, becoming closed to the public and only being broadcast on television. There were 88% fewer participants in the parade compared to previous years and social distancing was enforced.

The next year, the parade returned to normal with 6,500 people marching in the parade and a live audience in attendance with over 2.5 million spectators.

Since 1979, it has received nine Emmy awards for outstanding performances. 

Jackson McAfee, junior, had the privilege of attending the parade a few years ago. He remembers the ginormous balloons, the crowded streets and how freezing it was outside.

He recalls, “We had a pretty good view, we were right up there.” 

Even though he enjoyed the experience, he doesn’t feel the need to go back again. 

McAfee states, “It gets too cold to have to sit out for so long.” 

He is grateful for the experience he had, and says he won’t forget it for a very long time.

At the rate the parade is going, people can expect to soak in the warm spirit of Thanksgiving by watching it live or on television for years to come.


More to Discover
About the Contributor
Katherine Drezewski
Katherine Drezewski, Staff Writer
Katherine Drezewski is a Staff Writer for the newspaper. She is a Sophomore and this is her first year writing for the newspaper. She is super excited to see where it takes her. Katherine spends her time talking to her friends, singing, and buying too many clothes.
  • Avid Pinterest user
  • Fiona Apple lover
  • Thrifting connoisseuse