New Yorkers Parade Their Thanksgiving Spirit
Thanksgiving is full of tradition for families all across the country, and here in New York City many of us share the tradition of watching the Thanksgiving day parade. Since 1924, The larger floats have been impressing people of all ages including the toddlers and grandparents in the city for Thanksgiving. The parade was started by Louis Hamburger, and it originally took place in Newark, New Jersey. Then he transferred his store to New York City by Macy’s, the parade moved with him. Macy’s employees marched to the flagship store, dressed in spirited costumes alongside floats, bands, and animals from the Central Park Zoo. The parade was a hit from the start with 250,000 people in attendance, so Macy’s decided to make it an annual event. In 1927, giant animal-shaped balloons replaced the animals from the zoo and later became icons of the parade. The first broadcast of this incredible Thanksgiving celebration was in 1932, and the success of the broadcast has only increased through the years: recently in 2016 22.3 million viewers watched the television broadcast of the parade and 3.5 million people watching the parade on the streets of Manhattan.
Each year the lineup of balloons varies, but you can always expect to see the Pillsbury Doughboy, Ronald McDonald, Charlie Brown, and the Macy’s yellow star make an appearance in the parade among many other balloons. Equally as entertaining are the floats with live performers on them, such as the large turkey and Sesame Street floats. The Thanksgiving spirit is truly displayed by the many marching bands, who enthusiastically play their instruments alongside the floats and balloons. The bands include a range of performers from high school students, just like us, to the New York Police Department, and even the United States Air Force.
While the physical floats are entertaining on their own, Macy’s has featured an incredible range of singers, including Meghan Trainor, Hamilton’s Christopher Jackson, and Kanye West. This year’s lineup has yet to be released, but as past years have proven, the performers will certainly not fail to impress.
Equally as fun as watching the actual parade is watching the balloons being blown up the night before. Lined up along Central Park West and Columbus Avenue on the Upper West Side, the balloons start off half full, but as you make your way around the block, they have already increased in size. It is also organized in such a way that at one point in your viewing of the balloons you can stand just an arm’s length away from a giant Pikachu or Power Ranger.
Whether it’s from your window, down on the streets of New York, or a television screen across the country, the Thanksgiving day parade that has become a long-lasting tradition is always a fun way to start off the holiday.