ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Fun Facts About Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloons

Updated on June 28, 2011

First Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade - No Balloons

Millions of people watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade every year promptly at 9 a.m. eastern standard time. It has become a time honored holiday tradition in many families. Some of the biggest hits of the Macy's Parade are the famous helium Macy's Parade balloons.

Read on for fun facts about Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade balloons. Scroll down to see Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloons pics.

The original Macy's Thanksgiving parade didn't include any balloons. Instead, there were live animals borrowed from the zoo.

Facts About the Earliest Macy's Thanksgiving Parade Balloons

Felix the Cat was the first Macy's parade balloon. Felix the Cat balloon was designed by Tony Sarg. Sarg was a theater set designer. He was also hired to create the artistic Macy's store window displays during the Christmas season.

Some of the other first balloons present in the Thanksgiving parade included a toy soldier, dragon, and elephant. These first balloons were filled with air instead of helium. Since Macy's started using helium for their parade balloons, they are second only to the United States government in helium usage.

The first time that helium was used for balloons in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, the balloons burst when they were released at the end of the parade. It hadn't occurred to anyone that helium expands at higher altitudes. The balloons were designed with a safety valve from then on to allow the helium to escape slowly.

In 1958, there was a helium shortage. So the Macy's parade balloons were filled with air instead. Then they were kept afloat with large cranes.

The earliest Macy's Thanksgiving balloons were released at the end of the parade. Whoever found the balloons received a prize from Macy's. This practice was discontinued after a pilot almost crashed trying to retrieve one of  the released Macy's Thanksgiving balloons.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloons - Before the Parade

All Macy's parade balloons start out as simple illustrations. These are analyzed by aerodynamics engineers for feasibility of flight. Then a clay model is built to scale. Next, a polyurethane model is assembled. Finally, the parade balloon is made. If it survives its test flight, it will get to appear in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.

More than 1,000 volunteers help in setting up and handling the balloons for the Macy's parade. Just like the original Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, many of the parade volunteers are Macy's employees. They help inflate the huge helium balloons the night before the Thanksgiving Day parade, which takes hours.

The massive Thanksgiving Day parade balloons weigh hundreds of pounds. The balloons require many handlers each. Some of them have 50 people helping to guide them along the parade route.

Popular Macy's Thanksgiving Day Helium Balloons

Some of the most popular Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade balloons are classic cartoon characters. They include Bullwinkle, Snoopy, and Mickey Mouse. Other cartoon Macy's parade balloons are Pink Panther, Charlie Brown, Woody Woodpecker, and Bugs Bunny. More recent cartoon characters appearing as balloons in the Macy's Thanksgiving parade are Bart Simpson, Pikachu, Garfield, Shrek, and Spongebob Squarepants.

Disney has been in conjunction with Macy's since Mickey Mouse was designed as a balloon for the famous parade in 1934. Tony Sarg, creator of the original famous Macy's balloons, and Disney worked together to create the Mickey Mouse parade balloon. Other Disney balloons that appeared in the same parade were Pluto, The Big Bad Wolf, and a Little Pig.

The Mickey Mouse balloon was not allowed to appear in the 1971 Macy's parade. The wind was too strong. Wind also caused the Cat in the Hat balloon to crash into a street light in 1997. One unlucky parade onlooker suffered serious injuries, including being in a coma.

Modern times affected the Macy's parade in 1993 with the introduction of the first video game character to be turned into a Macy's Thanksgiving Parade balloon- Sonic the Hedgehog. Then the world wide web hit the Macy's Day Thanksgiving Parade in 1999. That is when the Ask Jeeves helium balloon was seen floating in the famous parade.

Time Honored Thanksgiving Traditions - The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

This year when you sit down to watch the parade and those famous Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade balloons, you will be participating in a tradition that is close to a hundred years old. Hopefully, it is a holiday tradition that will continue for at least another century.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloons Photos

Garfield Thanksgiving Parade Balloon
Garfield Thanksgiving Parade Balloon | Source
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloon- Shrek
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloon- Shrek | Source
Classic Macy's Parade Balloon- Charlie Brown
Classic Macy's Parade Balloon- Charlie Brown | Source
Setting up Kermit helium Macy's Thanksgiving parade balloon
Setting up Kermit helium Macy's Thanksgiving parade balloon | Source


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Macy's in America ruthless as Bugsy Siegel


      Macy’s managers are well paid to abuse Macy’s workers and employees

      Macy’s managers enjoy the good life, driving very expensive cars, getting high as much as they want to and promotes violation of labor laws for Macy’s benefits with the advised of some lawyers working on the Labor Laws ethical borderline

      Very well paid Macy’s managers abusing a lot of employees justifies their very high salary, because they are saving a lot of money to maintain a large number of employees paid at the minimum wage and making a lot of profits on its sales as well on the low wages paid to employees.

      No employee hourly increases, in other words nobody gets a dime, never, even after working many years for Macy’s and having an excellent performance on the job

      Macy’s profits came from a combination of paying low wages to employees and very high mark ups of cheap merchandise bought from Asia

      Violations of labor laws is the norm at Macy’s and well and cheating and deceiving.

      Macy’s is having Lawsuits for paying less hours that the hours worked by the employee. Not one case, but on many cases on employees working in the USA

      Also taking more deductions than the law allows on employees paychecks


      “I know the name you have in mind, but unfortunately you can not say it here, because it is a bad word and some people may feel offended by that”

      The best you can do is not shopping at Macy’s

      Show Macy’s smart ass managers getting high all the time, who is the boss!

      Macy’s without customers, won’t go anywhere and Macy’s managers will not get the money to buy the drugs to get high and doing illegal things on employees

      But obviously, Macy’s managers are receiving orders from the CEO or others very important people at Macy’s to act illegally

      Is Macy’s the new ruthless Bugsy Siegel gangster in America?


    • Drew Breezzy profile image

      Drew Breezzy 

      6 years ago from somewhere in my mind

      Shrek balloon is awesome!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I be really enjoy thou postings of thous macys thanksgiving parade balloons of thou arts pictures

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I love macy's Thanksgiving day parade and their balloons and thank you guys for watching macy's thanksgiving day parader

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I love macy's Thanksgiving day parade and their balloons and thank you guys for watching macy's thanksgiving day parader

    • BetsyAndTV profile image


      7 years ago from The Television

      This is a great hub! I would never have guessed that the balloons weigh hundreds of pounds! Crazy. That photo of the Shrek balloon is amazing!

    • profile image

      awesomo guy 

      7 years ago

      i lie pie

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      duhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh post it up!!

    • schoolmarm profile image


      8 years ago from Florida

      I really enjoy holiday trivia. Thank you for this timely and interesting hub.

    • Angela Harris profile imageAUTHOR

      Angela Harris 

      8 years ago from Around the USA

      You're welcome and thanks, everyone.

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 

      8 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      Getting to be "that time of the year." Thanks for the information and pictures.

    • msorensson profile image


      8 years ago

      When I was still watching television I used to watch this. It is always such a grand production. Thanks for reminding and love the pictures.

    • lyjo profile image


      8 years ago

      That's really awesome, pictures are great, thanks, take good care,


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)