Fun Facts with Hamilton: The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Every year on November 25th, millions of Americans tune in to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade is one the most colorful and festive events in the entire year –bigger-than-life balloons, incredibly sophisticated floats, celebrity artists, marching bands, and street performers all make up this entertainment spectacle!

Beginnings

The very first parade was on November 27th, 1924. Macy’s had recently expanded their flagship store on 34th and Broadway. Macy’s employees put together a parade to celebrate the expansion, promote the unveiling of their Christmas window display, and usher in the Christmas shopping season. The event was massively successful, and except for three years during WWII, the parade has reoccurred every year since.

Everyone Loves the Balloons!

The giant balloons are arguably the most iconic part of the parade:

  • Felix the Cat, a dragon, and a toy soldier, the first three balloons, were introduced in 1927.
  • Balloon inflation is an event open to the public on November 24th. It takes up to two hours for a balloon to inflate and about 15 minutes to deflate.
  • A Balloon Pilot and a team of up to 90 people manage each ballon.
  • Every ballon is built, prepped, and given a test run by Halloween.
  • Initially, Macy’s released the balloons into the air after the parade. Balloon finders could “cash in” their balloons for a $25 gift certificate to Macy’ This tradition ended in 1932 when an aviation student almost crashed her plane trying to “catch” a tomcat balloon.
  • Superman, the largest Macy’s balloon to date, towers at a whopping 80 feet.
  • Unfortunately, windy weather and rain have caused a few ballon incidents, such as when Popeye the Sailor debuted during a very rainy parade in 1957. His cap became a basin for the rainwater, and a sharp turn caused water to splash out, soaking spectators below.

American Spirit — The Show Goes On!

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade has long been a tradition that unites us and raises morale and spirit. The show went on just six days after JFK was assassinated in 1963 and again in 2001 a couple of months after 9.11 to help raise morale. Even when the parade was entirely televised during the Covid Pandemic, the parade provided some normalcy.

Some traditions are here to stay, including the mission and commitment you’ll find at Hamilton Connection. Since 1986, we have treated every client, large or small, as an important part of our Hamilton family and every employee as a member of our team. Happy Thanksgiving to all!