On the fourth Thursday of the month, the same day that most Americans gather around the dining table and gobble turkey to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade marches through the streets of New York City. Elaborate floats, marching bands, clowns and celebrities create a carnivalesque atmosphere. But the main attraction is the parade's giant helium balloons, many of which are depictions of cartoon characters.
For 96 years, the parade has drawn spectators who line the streets and cheer on the participants. "Since its first march in 1924 and through the decades, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has served to bring joy to the millions who gather nationwide each year to experience it with friends and family," said Will Coss, executive producer of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, in a press statement. "This November, as we once again set the stage for the start of the holiday season, we are thrilled to showcase another spectacle full of magic and wonder that will help create everlasting memories with loved ones during this special time of year."
The parade starts its 2.5-mile (4-kilometer) route at 77th Street and Central Park West at 9 a.m.; from there it goes to Columbus Circle turning onto Central Park South and heading down Sixth Avenue before turning west at 34th Street and ending at 7th Avenue in front of Macy's Herald Square.
In this article, we'll look at the history behind the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and how the parade's balloons and floats are created. We'll also look at some balloon-wrangling mishaps and learn about the logistics involved in staging a show for an audience of millions.