1924: In New York City, The First Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Is Held


On November 27, 1924, the first Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade hit the streets of Manhattan. The parade, which has become a Thanksgiving tradition for many, was originally held to celebrate Christmas—with Macy's becoming the "largest store in the world," with one million square feet of retail space, including seven from Broadway Avenue as well as 34th Street to cover the entire city block. , Macy's founder Rowland Hussey Macy's hoped the parade would increase business in the store and encourage customers to start shopping early for the holiday.

First Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Just like today, the first Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade begins at 9:00 a.m. and ended around noon, traveling six miles through the Big Apple in front of a crowd of four or five deep. This first parade had a nursery rhyme theme that matched the Macy's display window, featuring characters such as Little Miss Muffett, Little Red Riding Hood, and the Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe. Alongside these floats were a collection of animals on loan from the Central Park Zoo, including bears, camels, and elephants. Macy's estimates that more than 250,000 people came to see the first parade, which prompted the company to announce the next morning in all major New York newspapers that it would be the beginning of a Thanksgiving tradition again the following year.

How Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Has Changed

Over the years, the zoo animals that were the stars of that first parade proved to be unsuitable participants. They were easily overwhelmed and agitated, and the audience was often intimidated by them. The problem proved to be a panacea, however, as the animals were replaced by the famous giant helium character balloons that eagerly await every Thanksgiving morning. Felix the Cat was the first balloon in 1927 and Mickey Mouse joined him in 1934.

The parade has undergone several changes over the years, including a shortened route, three cancellations in the '40s due to World War II, the informal firing of horses pulling floats in favor of motorization in 1939, and the introduction of radio broadcasts. Is. in 1932 before switching to television in 1947. As much as the parade has evolved, however, one thing has always remained the same: Santa in his sleigh as the guest of honor who brings behind the festivities.

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