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10 Unusual Facts About Macy's Thanksgiving Parade



Nothing says more about the beginning of the holiday season than the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Not only does the event have all the delightful features of the American holiday season, it is also a national tradition that you can trust. But an event that begins in the 1920s does not come without a bit of intrigue and a few secrets so far. Add a spicy conversation to your Thanksgiving this year by impressing your family with some interesting facts about this American holiday icon.

See Also: 10 Unresolved Thanksgiving Puzzles

10 The balloons were introduced to mitigate the fears of the famous Central Park Zoo. Originally, donkeys, elephants, goats and camels went along the route. Seems innocent enough, right? With the exception of the years 1
925 and 1926, the organizers could have decided to increase the stake and add lions, tigers and bears. You guessed it – oh my god! The kids on the track were so scared that Macy decided to swap live animals for big rubber dolls and eventually develop into big balloons. The move turned out to be right as the larger-than-life, helium-filled animals are now recognized worldwide as Macy's trademarks. [1]

9 The parade chased one American tradition into oblivion and spawned another


that was ever owned by Ragamuffin Day? Starting after Abraham Lincoln's presidential declaration in 1863 on the Thanksgiving Day on the last Thursday of November, this delightful tradition was about kids dressing up as crooks and begging for treats in the street. Eventually, the participants were given the name "Ragamuffins" and the holiday became well-known. The occasion became particularly popular in New York City, and over time, more costumes were added to the streets to ask for "Anything for Thanksgiving?".

The growing popularity of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade along with the onset of the Great Depression brought Ragamuffin Day to a halt. In the early 1950s, however, tradition had turned into what we call Trick or Treating. Thanks, Macy! [2]

8 Is someone chasing extreme balloons?


The first decade of the parade included a tradition that made the occasion a weekend-long event when the animal balloons were blown up to float above the city and beyond. The balloons are expensive to produce, should they be found, they could be returned to Macy's for a cash prize. This incentive also led to the demise of the tradition, when the aviator Annette Gipson ruined her in 1928 for everyone by flying her plane into one of the balloons to retrieve them. As the balloon was wrapped around the left wing, the plane began to spin and the spectators were horrified. Fortunately, Gipson's instructor took over, but not without the passenger door opening and nearly pushing her out of the plane.

Macy's decided to put an end to the flying animal balloons from now on. [3]

7 Balloon animals may be cute, but they can also be dangerous


The famous larger than life balloons may seem harmless, but they have a dark side. Over the years, they have caused numerous injuries to spectators, including children. Most threatening was the cat in the hat that graced the 1997 route. On the way, it collided with a lamppost whose tip hit an unsuspecting woman in the head and knocked her unconscious. This was followed by a one-month coma, which led to brain damage and permanent injuries of the 34-year-old mother.

This is not the end of terror. Another incident involved Sonic the Hedgehog's unfortunate debut at the 1993 Parade, when he crashed into a lamppost, leaving two onlookers behind with half-injured injuries. Oh, and the 2005 M & M balloon did not stay away from lampposts on the track, bumping into one of them and injuring two sisters.

While Macy's took responsibility for each incident, one must ask oneself what the real threat is. the balloons or the lampposts of the city. [4]

6 Balloons are also at risk of violence

In the 1997 parade and at the height of its popularity, Barney the Dinosaurs inflatable version was the victim of an attack. When unprecedented winds troubled balloonists, everyone was ordered to stop and deflate the purple dinosaur. As he waited, the Barney balloon struck a light pole and suffered a massive cut in its side as it quickly approached the road. However, the New York police did not believe that it would be fast enough, and jumped out of fear of the safety of the balloonists on the rubber image of everyone's favorite T-Rex and began to stab it (yes, you read that) correctly , To prevent children watching from home being traumatized, NBC aired a recording of the Barney balloon from an earlier parade on the television program. The scene, however, found its way to YouTube in 2003, delighting some and bothering others as it became viral.

Barney suffered another serious injury in the 2005 parade when a tree tore his left leg before he even made it out of the gate. However, the purple friend held on and made his way with the wound that the world could see. What a soldier.

5 The Balloons Helped Defeat the Nazis


The only time the parade was canceled since its inception were the parades of 1942, 1943 and 1944, which were canceled due to US involvement in the World War became two. It was not that Macy considered it inappropriate to have such a festive event, while overseas soldiers were waging a protracted and cruel war. This was because the military suffered from severe shortages of rubber and helium, and regulations against overuse were imposed that even extended to the famous parade. Without evading it, the event was canceled. However, Macy has managed to stay in the limelight and donate the balloons to the armed forces as part of a city hall ceremony. We're talking about 650 pounds of rubber and who knows how much helium, not too shabby. Pictured is the 1937 Nazi parade on Long Island. , , yup: Long Island – that really happened. [5]

4 Speaking of helium, the parade keeps the industry alive screens, the parade is not a small neighborhood holiday event. Macy's Thanksgiving Parade is currently the second largest helium consumer in the world after the United States government. At the moment it looks like this consumption is not a problem and does not lead to bottlenecks even with the gas that is increasingly needed for the technology. [6]

3 Do you have a license for this balloon?


Each inflated balloon of the parade has its own "pilot" – the person walking backwards in front of the balloon and his group of porters. The position is not just one for which employees volunteer when needed. Rather, anyone who has been chosen to accomplish his task will be specially trained by Macy's. They also have to learn to walk 4 km backwards. The training takes place twice a year and includes lessons as well as distance lessons. And yes, it's all for prestige. The crew at the parade works honorary, for fun or to paint an item on the bucket list.

Although 50 to 100 handlers are required for each of the 15 or so balloons, orders are hard to come by. If you do not work for Macy, you have to be sponsored by a Macy employee, which is more difficult than it sounds, with many volunteers sticking to their positions year after year, with the same enthusiasm as clinging to their inflatable friends. If you actually find a sponsor, you will only get a job if you meet the physical requirements for the job. If each balloonist navigates the route on a 300 to 500 pound turn, he must be over 18 years of age, weigh at least 120 pounds, be free of heart problems, and tie knees and back. [7]

2 Felix, the cat, is being burned


Does Felix, the cat, appear to you as the first balloonist at the Thanksgiving parade of Macy? That's because the first licensed cartoon characters, The Catjammer Kids, are no longer well-known names (and "hangover kids" are not so easy to roll off the tongue). Although Felix appeared at the parade, but only as a kind of rubber doll. In fact, Felix participated in the parade in 1932 as a helium-filled balloon.

The cheeky cat, however, was the first cartoon character in the parade to make fun of a cat. The famous cat obviously has a weakness for electrical wiring and playing with fire. The first mishap occurred in 1929, when the above-mentioned warhead moved away from her small group of traders and headed straight for the next electric wire, catching fire and going up in flames (leaving his kitten son behind as well) as a separate one , fatherless explosion doll). After the short-lived tradition of bringing the balloons to the outside at the end of the parade, the cat again showed its pyromaniac tendencies in 1931. This time, a solo pilot in the air, Clarence D. Chamberlin, tried to claim Felix over Lasso (yes, an actual lasso). Unfortunately, the spooky cat broke and went straight back to the electrical lines, which flared up in flames immediately. However, Macy's would not give up, and the release of the balloons would take another three years before they decided that this might involve too many public safety risks (you think?). [8]

1 You want you to believe in Santa Claus.


Santa Claus has finished the parade for each year, except in 1933, when the organizers decided to swap them by marking the beginning of the parade. Seems to be a good actor's act for Santa, right? Well, maybe you can agree to the absolute secrecy of the role. Interestingly, when the parade was broadcast on television for the first time in 1948 (interestingly enough, those who enjoyed the parade at home did so over the first two decades of their existence), Macy's Charles Howard, founder of Santa School (yes, you heard that right) in Albion, Michigan to play the role. He put on the red suit at the parade until 1965 and was hired by Macy to work as a Santa Claus in her New York business. However, when Howard retired in 1965, the company decided to return to the traditional attitude of Santa Claus – there is only one, and here he is, on the float! Actors playing the fun old St. Nick have been anonymous ever since. At a national event featuring only the most famous cartoon characters and celebrities, this is an impressive achievement. She is a lover of history who also loves books, travel, old stuff and a good list. You can follow their adventures on Instagram and on Twitter .



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