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(Photo © Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Macy's, Inc.)

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade: 99 Years of Tradition!

Written by Katie Marzullo. Published: November 23 2023


Gobble gobble!
Before you all dig into your Thanksgiving feasts this evening, you will no doubt rise early to catch that other great holiday tradition, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! The annual event celebrates its 99th year today (wow!) – most of you don’t even have grandparents that old, so that means most people reading this have never drawn a Macy’s Parade-less breath in their lifetimes.
Very little has changed about this event since its inauguration 1924; only the balloons and floats change over every so often. But other than that, the intention is the same – to throwing a rockin’ Thanksgiving Day party in the middle of Manhattan and officially ring in the Christmas season! The original parade, like today, featured floats and live bands, but also live animals from the Central Park Zoo! Quickly growing wise to the logistical challenges of parading wild animals through the streets of New York City, the zoo tenants were replaced by a balloon menagerie in 1927, and it’s been that way ever since. The only difference is, back in those days, once the parade ended, the balloons were released into the sky! I guess they had storage problems back then...
Felix the Cat & Co., moments before "lift-off"... (© George Rinhart/Corbis via Getty Images)
In the subsequent years, the Parade, whose original mission was to drum up exposure for Macy’s Department Store in Herald Square, has only gotten more massive and imprinted itself on the American consciousness. Today’s Parade has just as many delightful treats in store, including:
- Live performances by dance troupes Big Apple Circus, Spirit of America, and The Tap Dancing Christmas Trees
- 25 balloons including the debut of Beagle Scout Snoopy, Blue Cat & Chugs, Leo from Leo, a new version of the Pillsbury Doughboy, and more
- Appearances by musical artists like Enhypen, Cher, Jon Batiste, and Pentatonix
- Live performances from Broadway shows & Juliet, Spamalot, and Back to the Future
And, of course, we’ll get to see marching bands from all over the country, a dance by the famous Radio City Rockettes, and it’ll all come together at the end when Santa Claus himself enters the square to declare the holiday season ON!
So, tune in to NBC and Peacock at 8:30am to see all the festivities go down... for the 99th time! Happy Thanksgiving!