Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is an annual Thanksgiving parade that is held by Macy’s department store. It is one of America’s most popular Thanksgiving Day traditions and biggest parade in America. This spectacular parade features more than 10,000 participants, some of which include performance groups, the nation’s best marching bands, wonderful floats, and the famous giant helium balloons. The parade starts at 9 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day and lasts three hours.
Heralding the start of the Christmas season, this beloved holiday parade features colorful grand floats, lively marching bands, amazing character balloons and special performances by some of the hottest stars and Broadway performers — plus an appearance by Santa Claus. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade also happens to be the biggest parade in America.
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade route is nearly six-mile long and passes through the heart of Manhattan. The parade travels down Central Park West from 77th Street to Columbus Circle along Central Park South to 7th Avenue, down 7th Avenue to 42nd Street, along 42nd Street to 6th Avenue, down 6th Avenue to 34th Street and along 34th Street to Macy’s Herald Square (34th Street).
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is one of the largest parades in America. More than 3.5 million people view the parade live and an additional 50 million viewers watch the event on television. The parade typically airs on NBC from 9 a.m. until noon. If you are trying to get the best viewing area for the parade, then you need to arrive early. Many people arrive as early as 6:00 am in order to get the place spots along the route of the parade. The parade lasts anywhere from an hour and a half to three hours, depending on where you are viewing it from.
If you want the full Macy’s Parade experience, you can watch the balloons getting blown up the day before the parade. The inflation of the balloons takes place from 3 p.m. till 10 p.m. near the American Museum of Natural History, right next to Central Park West, between 77th St. and 81st St.
Here are five fun facts about the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade:
- The parade was originally called “Macy’s Christmas Parade
- The parade has been held continuously from 1924, except for 1942-1944 when it was halted due to WWII.
- The parade’s first national broadcast was on NBC in 1948.
- The first parade was in 1924 and featured floats, clowns, bands and a few zoo animals.
- In 1927 live animals were replaced with large balloons. The very first balloon was Felix The Cat.