Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Every Thanksgiving since 1924, families have woken up to colorful floats, blown up balloons of America’s favorite characters and various performances and dances. The Macy’s Thanksgiving parade began in 1924 when Macy’s employees decided to promote holiday sales and their newly expanded store. The parade stretched from Broadway to Seventh Avenue along 34th Street in New York City, where millions of people gathered around and more than 50 million TV viewers tuned in. This tradition has remained an iconic celebration experience for many and has since then marked the beginning of the holiday season with a long-anticipated arrival of the beloved Santa Clause. 

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is notable for its nostalgic inflatable balloons. The large balloons associated with this Parade were first introduced in 1927, in replacement of zoo animals. As popular characters such as Snoopy, Kermit the Frog, and Spongebob Squarepants make their appearance within the parade, a glimpse into youth pop culture is presented each year. Felix the Cat had the honor of being the first-ever parade balloon. The original balloons had a short life span as they didn’t have release valves, so they were released into the sky to pop in the air.

When asking Nicole Hammer, a junior, what her favorite balloon was at the Macy’s Day Parade, she said, “Every year I look forward to seeing SpongeBob, it really brings me back to my childhood.” 

Many people agree that this parade resonates with their childhood memories in which they have formed emotional connections through these experiences. Regan Lynch, a senior, agrees with this claim as she, herself has an emotional connection to the Parade. She explains, “The Macy’s Day Parade is very special to me because my grandpa took me when I was very young and it is always a nice memory that I have kept. I remember waking up super early so that we got special seats.” 

The performances and special guests that have been featured in the annual parade are some of the most memorable components that make the Macy’s Day Parade as successful as it is. Founded in 1925, The Radio City Rockettes have been delivering their perfectly synchronized high kicks since 1957. For the 2023 Thanksgiving Macy’s Parade they have quite a few artists lined up to perform, such as Alex Smith, Cher, Paul Russell, and Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors. 

The Macy’s Day Parade continues to be the most watched parade in America with viewers and participants of all ages. Each year the magic of the holiday season is shared across the country whether it is through the screen or live. For over 9 decades, this custom has brought families together, provided quality entertainment, and formed a sense of community among every American.


Article by Melakai Aligo ’24 and Samantha Giangarra ’25