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Up Up In the Sky

November 26, 2010

In honor of Thanksgiving I have decided to show a quick history of the balloons at the Thanksgiving Day Parade.

In 1924, the inaugural parade (originally known as the Macy’s Christmas Parade and later the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Christmas Parade.) was staged by the store. Employees and professional entertainers marched from 145th Street to Macy’s flagship store on 34th Street dressed in vibrant costumes. There were floats, professional bands and live animals borrowed from the Central Park Zoo(!) At the end of that first parade Santa Claus was the last to be seen (as has been the case ever since). At this first parade, however, the Jolly Old Elf was enthroned on the Macy’s balcony at the 34th Street store entrance, where he was then “crowned” “King of the Kiddies.” The parade was such a success that Macy’s declared it would become an annual event.

Since then large animal-shaped balloons have replaced the live animals. The first balloon was Felix the Cat in 1927 . Originally the balloon was filled with air, but in 1928 they started filling the balloons with helium. Below are some photos I have found online of some of the first balloons.

Felix the Cat 1927

Mickey Mouse 1931

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade tradition started in 1954, tying it for the second-oldest Thanksgiving parade in the United States.

Popeye 1957

Going to the parade was an annual tradition in my family growing up. My father used to leave the house at 6:30am to save us seats in the first row of the street. Below are some of those photos from those years.

This year I decided to venture out into the street for a quick photo trip just to see what I could get. I was very excited to see if I could get a photo of the Murakami balloons (being a fan of his). While kids behind me were getting excited at the Shrek or the Spiderman balloon, I got all gitty when I saw KaiKai and Kiki. (Sometimes I cant believe what an art nerd I have become).

Later I found out that Murakami was there in a super cute flower costume.

There is something so wonderful about the Thanksgiving Day Parade. Yes it can be cold or rainy but the pure joy that surrounds you as you watch it, is an amazing feeling.


The balloon below I thought was pretty lame. I understand why its needed but cant they make a better shape?

Sometimes I like to think that the balloons have personalities of their own- The way the superheroes sway in the air over the crowd, or the arm moves and looks like they are waving, or the basic shape of the balloon is funny to see pass over the crowd.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

One Comment leave one →
  1. November 26, 2010 6:47 pm

    Those are really awesome..!
    Beautiful! 🙂

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