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Making of the Macy's Parade (when it was EPIC): 1924 and up showing Antique cars


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Making of the Macy's Parade (when it was EPIC): How 8,000 volunteers and performers would join 900 clowns and live animals from Central park zoo to pull off America's favorite Thanksgiving spectacle

  • Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year's annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade will be done as a virtual event to avoid large crowds; the parade draws 3.5 million spectators annually and 50 million viewers on TV
  • The celebrated holiday tradition began in 1924 with live animals borrowed from the zoo, nursery-rhyme themed floats and marching employees costumed as clowns, cowboys, jesters and sword-wielding knights
  •  It's the world's largest parade and second oldest Thanksgiving parade, after rival department store, Gimbels, staged a celebration in 1920 to usher in the holiday spending season
  • The parade has only been cancelled three times in its 96-year-long history during WWII, between 1942-1944; it was grounded due to helium and rubber rations 
  • It takes 8,000 people each year to pull off the parade, which includes 200 costume fitters that dress 2,000 balloon handlers, 400 kids, 300 float escorts, and 900 clowns
  • A team of engineers, painters, sculptors, carpenters, construction workers and metal workers labor year round at the Macy's Parade Studio in New Jersey to create and maintain the balloons 

The annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade began in 1924 as a way to showcase the 'World's Largest Store' and usher in the Christmas shopping season. It has since grown to be the largest parade in the world with 3.5 million visitors each year. Macy's copied the idea from their department store rival, Gimbels, who first staged a holiday parade in 1920. Above is Laffo The Clown pictured in 1940, he was recycled from the previous year's Tin Man balloon and eventually donated to the war effort for rubber in 1942

 

The annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade began in 1924 as a way to showcase the 'World's Largest Store' and usher in the Christmas shopping season. It has since grown to be the largest parade in the world with 3.5 million visitors each year. Macy's copied the idea from their department store rival, Gimbels, who first staged a holiday parade in 1920. Above is Laffo The Clown pictured in 1940, he was recycled from the previous year's Tin Man balloon and eventually donated to the war effort for rubber in 1942

 

 

Elephants march single file in the first Macy's Parade in 1924. It was originally called the 'Macy's Christmas Parade' and featured a menagerie of animals that were on loan from the Central Park Zoo:  elephants, monkeys, camels, tigers and bears on loan from the Central Park Zoo marched between floats alongside brass bands and Macy's employees who were costumed as clowns, cowboys, jesters and sword-wielding knights

 

Elephants march single file in the first Macy's Parade in 1924. It was originally called the 'Macy's Christmas Parade' and featured a menagerie of animals that were on loan from the Central Park Zoo:  elephants, monkeys, camels, tigers and bears on loan from the Central Park Zoo marched between floats alongside brass bands and Macy's employees who were costumed as clowns, cowboys, jesters and sword-wielding knights

 

 

 

Animal and character balloons were first introduced in 1927 to replace the live zoo animals that were frighting children. The inflatables were designed by marionette puppet master Tony Sarg and produced by the Goodyear Tire Company. Above, a hippo floats above Times Square in 1940

 

 

Animal and character balloons were first introduced in 1927 to replace the live zoo animals that were frighting children. The inflatables were designed by marionette puppet master Tony Sarg and produced by the Goodyear Tire Company. Above, a hippo floats above Times Square in 1940

 

This big crybaby balloon was one of the features in the 1934 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade which paraded down Broadway, bringing joy to the hearts of the thousands of kiddies who lined the route. By 1933, the parade had attracted more than 1 million spectators

 

 

This big crybaby balloon was one of the features in the 1934 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade which paraded down Broadway, bringing joy to the hearts of the thousands of kiddies who lined the route. By 1933, the parade had attracted more than 1 million spectators 

 

 

Among the very first balloons that made their debut in 1927 was this 127-foot-long dragon that was filled with oxygen (not helium), propped up on stilts, and paraded through the streets. Other notable puppets that year a 'human behemoth,' a toy soldier, a dinosaur and Felix the Cat

 

 

Among the very first balloons that made their debut in 1927 was this 127-foot-long dragon that was filled with oxygen (not helium), propped up on stilts, and paraded through the streets. Other notable puppets that year a 'human behemoth,' a toy soldier, a dinosaur and Felix the Cat

 

 

Macy's was originally a dry goods store known as R. H. Macy & Co, that opened its first location in New York City on 14th Street in 1858. In 1902 the store moved 20 blocks north to a new flagship location on 34th Street (above), which at the time, was considered so remote they had to provide a steam wagonette to transport customers to and from lower Manhattan. In 1924, Macy's officially became the 'World's Largest Store' with 1.1 million square feet of retail space, that covers an entire city block

 

Macy's was originally a dry goods store known as R. H. Macy & Co, that opened its first location in New York City on 14th Street in 1858. In 1902 the store moved 20 blocks north to a new flagship location on 34th Street (above), which at the time, was considered so remote they had to provide a steam wagonette to transport customers to and from lower Manhattan. In 1924, Macy's officially became the 'World's Largest Store' with 1.1 million square feet of retail space, that covers an entire city block

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I remember the family going to NYC for the Macy's parade one year, must have seen something but what I remember was visiting F.A.O. Swartz afterwards and looking at the Lionel trains. Think they had a Pennsy GG1.

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The other big Thanksgiving parade is the Detroit Thanksgiving parade.  Now known as America's Thanksgiving Parade/ Detroit. I have been volunteering for 25 years.  I help get the floats down the parade route and back to the parade studio.  My son has been helping for over 10 years.  https://theparade.org

 

Like Macy's, the parade was virtual with some live narration and prerecorded segments, etc...

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