5 Things You Might Not Know About the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Thanksgiving is just a few days away, and with it comes many different traditions. Every family celebrates the holiday their own way, but there is one thing that we can all agree on: the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a must-see. Who doesn’t love curling up Thanksgiving morning and watching a giant Snoopy balloon making its way through the streets New York City? Macy’s will be celebrating their 89th parade this year, which means 89 years of history that you may not know about. That being said, here are 5 things you might not know about the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

1. They used to release the giant balloons into the sky at the end of the parade.

That’s right. Back in the late 1920s, long before we had laws against that kind of thing, the huge animal-shaped balloons were annually untied and let loose into the New York skies to float for a few days. There were even address labels on the balloons so whoever found them could return them to Macy’s and get a gift in return!

2. The parade was suspended for three years.

For the most part, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has been performed every year, without fail, since 1924. But for a brief period in the 1940s, there was no Macy’s parade on Thanksgiving morning. America’s involvement in World War II led to a shortage on helium and rubber, which meant no supplies for balloons. From 1942 to 1944, American citizens had to just imagine the Pinocchio balloon with its weird long nose instead of seeing it in real life.

3. Betty White co-hosted the parade for ten years.

Nowadays, the hosts of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade aren’t necessarily television producers, but rather news anchors. Back in the 1960s, when Macy’s decided to have hosts for commentary of the parade, our favorite Golden Girl, Betty White, was chosen. White co-hosted the parade from 1962 to 1971 with Lorne Greene, an actor who starred in the popular show Bonanza.

4. There have been numerous balloon and float injuries

One can imagine that in an 89-year history of parading, there must have been an incident or two. And there have definitely been a few! Some notable ones: Felix the Cat caught on fire in 1927. Donald Duck’s hat filled with rainwater and dumped it all over the crowd in 1962. Bullwinkle’s nose deflated in 1982, and in 1986 Raggedy Ann crashed into a lamppost, knocking it right over.

5. The floats have to be folded up and fit in a tiny box.

We’ve all seen how massive the parade floats on Thanksgiving Day are. But how can these huge things be transported through the city before the parade? They surely can’t sneak those huge things through the busy streets of New York without giving away which floats will be in the parade. Instead, each float needs to be disassembled and folded up into 12-by-8 foot boxes - miniscule in comparison to the floats themselves, which can reach up to 40 feet tall.