New York’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is one of the world’s largest and probably most sophisticated parades. There are a ton of fascinating Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade facts that you probably didn’t know. We have listed our favorite ones for you below!
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Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will take place on Thursday, November 24, 2022. The parade kicks off at 9 am EST and will take about 3 hours.
Our Favorite 10 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Facts
1. The parade is attended by 3 million spectators each year
Each year, 3 million people watch the parade live in New York and more than 44 million people follow the parade on TV. Combined, that’s more people than the entire population of Spain!
2. The first annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was held in 1924
Did you know that the first Macy’s Parade had real-life elephants marching in it? Even though the parade is an annual event, it was halted various times for various reasons, one of them being WWII. In fact, balloons were donated as their rubber could be used for life vests and more. This year’s parade will be the 92nd.
3. The parade marks the beginning of Christmas shopping
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade started off as a Christmas parade, but only a few years later became what is today the world’s most famous Thanksgiving Parade. Now, at the end of every parade, Santa Claus is welcomed into Herald Square. It marks the official start of Christmas shopping season, followed by Black Friday the very next day.
My tip: This is my complete guide to Black Friday in New York (best shops, neighborhoods & discounts)
4. Only Macy’s employees can participate in the parade
If you are not a Macy’s employee, the only other chance you would have to participate in the parade is if a Macy’s employee sponsors you. Spaces are limited however and also extremely popular. Who wouldn’t want to be part of the parade once? Even when you find someone to sponsor you, there is a thorough application process and some training you’ll have to go through.
5. There have been 7 different versions of Snoopy thus far
No other balloon has been altered as often as Snoopy. After Aviator Snoopy, there have been Astronaut Snoopy, Ice Skating Snoopy, Winter Snoopy, Millennium Snoopy, Snoopy the Flying Ace and Snoopy with Woodstock.
6. Carrying a balloon is no cakewalk
A single balloon can weigh 400 pounds. Each balloon needs about 90 handlers to move it. You see, it’s hard work! What makes the job even harder are the freezing temperatures and any winds. Balloons are several stories high and therefore easily affected by winds. In order to ensure a smooth flow, each balloon requires a trained “pilot”.
7. Every parade is planned more than a year in advance
Knowing that now, you might be surprised that things haven’t always gone as planned. Balloons have busted and carried away by the wind during the parade. The last injury recorded happened in 2005 when a balloon got caught in a street lantern and caused parts to fall onto spectators.
8. You can get a preview of the balloons the day before
You can watch the impressive Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons come to life right in front of your eyes the day before. The inflation takes place around the American Museum of Natural History on the Upper West Side. For many people, it has become a tradition to attend the inflation. Read more about it in our Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Guide.
9. Safety measures have increased drastically
In recent years, huge sand trucks and concrete barriers have been positioned at intersections for safety reasons. The NYPD presence is stronger than ever before. Apart from officers, there will be heavy weapon teams, K9s and aviation units all over the parade route.
10. The parade route has changed over the years
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade route has changed over the years. It used to lead over Broadway, a street that is now completely omitted. In total, the route is now 2.5 miles long and leads from 77th Street over South Central Park all the way down 6th Ave to Macy’s at Herald Square (34th St).
Be honest, how many of these did you know?
Loving New York wishes you a happy Thanksgiving!
Our Video of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
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I'm a true New York fan! Not only have I visited the city over 20 times but also have I spent several months here at a time. On my blog I show you the best and most beautiful spots of the city, so that you have a really good time! You can also find lots of insider tips in our New York travel guide. Also check out my hotel finder for New York!