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Ultimate Guide to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

By: Kathleen Seiler Neary  | 

Macy's Parade Floats

legos float
Lego's history with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade dates back to the 1960s. Carol Seitz/Macy's

Floats have been a mainstay of the parade since its inception in 1924. The float didn't achieve its spectacle status until 1969, when Manfred Bass began creating the floats. Bass designed them so that they could be flattened for their trip through the Holland Tunnel. They were then reassembled during the predawn hours of the parade.

Today, floats are constructed of materials including wood, metal, fiberglass, fabric and foam. The Macy's Parade Studio team starts with a sketch and then makes an exact-scale drawing of the float. The pieces of the float are built, starting with a flat base called a floatbed, and then painted. Props are added, and the float is fully assembled in the studio. As is the tradition, the last float of the parade carries Santa Claus, ushering in the start of the Christmas season.

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Every year the floats vary. For 2021, six new floats will debut, including "Birds of a Feather Stream Together by Peacock; Celebration Gator by Louisiana Office of Tourism; Colossal Wave of Wonder by Kalahari Resorts and Conventions; Gravy Pirates by HEINZ; Magic Meets the Sea by Disney Cruise Line; and Tiptoe's North Pole.

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