Macy’s parade kicks off holiday season

The historic parade got its start in 1924


Helium balloons didn’t get their start in the Macy’s parade until 1927. Snoopy made his debut in 1968.

Bridget Baumfalk, Reporter

November 26, 1924, zoo animals and marching bands parade from 145th Street to 34th Street while spectators cheer at the display.  In order to advertise “The World’s Largest Store” just in time for Christmas, Macy’s threw a parade in New York.  Originally it was Macy’s Christmas Parade, but now we know it as Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.  Helium balloons replaced the zoo animals in 1927. A giant helium Felix the Cat became popular with the audience and so balloons became one of the signature attractions of the parade. The giant balloons are still a fan favorite today. Junior Rebecca Stillwell says that the Snoopy balloon is her favorite part of the parade. 

Another signature attraction of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade is the entrance of Santa Claus at the very end of the parade.  This signifies the coming Christmas season and an end to Thanksgiving.  Along with balloons and marching bands, celebrities make appearances each year.  Celebrities started making appearances in 1934 with singer Eddie Cantor. Dance performances are another big part of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.  Junior Layla Andriasak enjoys watching the dancing teams and cheerleaders every thanksgiving with her grandma.  

Teacher Becky Stoltzfus remembers watching the parade growing up in the morning before heading over to eat with family.  This year the parade will look a little different due to Covid-19 restrictions.  

Macy’s will still hold an event in 2020, but will not march down the Manhattan streets. According to NBC News, “this year the procession will forgo marching down the traditional 2.5-mile route in Manhattan in order to avoid gathering large crowds.” Social distancing measures will be incorporated for spectators of the show that will be held at Macy’s on 34th Street.  It is encouraged that viewers stay home and watch the parade on television.  Viewers can still expect to see the beloved floats and balloons and the musical performances will go on, but this year, no marching bands will be participating. Expect to see performances from stars like Noah Cyrus, Sofia Carson, Jimmy Fallon and Leslie Odom Jr. Broadway casts from Hamilton, Mean Girls, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of The Temptations and Jagged Little Pill are also expected to perform. 

Maybe this year is a good year to start a new Thanksgiving tradition and tune into the 2020 Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.