Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is an annual event held on Thanksgiving Day and this year, it falls on November 23. Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is one of the biggest and most anticipated events during this holiday. It’s become a tradition among families to watch the parade on Thanksgiving Day. The parade was first introduced in 1924 and has continued to grow and develop since then, becoming an important part of the holiday season. Each year the floats become bigger and more elaborate with thousands of volunteers joining in to make this holiday celebration enjoyable for all those watching from home or coming to attend the parade.
History of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
Rowland Hussey Macy was a businessman born in 1822 in Massachusetts. In 1843, Rowland Macy opened four dry goods stores to serve the mill industry. He failed to launch his business and, by 1858, moved to New York City, renaming his store “R.H. Macy Dry Goods”. That store saw great success, but Macy didn’t live long enough to see his vision actualized. Macy died in 1877 and ownership of the company eventually went to his partners, brothers Isidor and Nathan Straus.
In 1902 came a great business decision when the flagship store was moved to Herald Square. What started as one building expanded through the years to become the world’s largest store. In 1978, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places and became a National Historic Landmark. It welcomes 20 million visitors every year. Macy’s hosts many of its events in that location, including the Macy’s Flower Show, Macy’s Santaland, and Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Each year the building’s windows have elaborate Christmas displays that visitors look forward to seeing.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is its most important and famous event. It has been hosted annually in New York City in Macy’s flagship store since 1924. In the first parade, Macy’s employees marched in costumes along with floats, a band, and live animals. Now, bands compete months ahead to play in the parade and thousands of people volunteer to help organize the event. The parades have become grander and more elaborate throughout the years. The parade introduced its first giant balloon in 1928. The balloons were initially shaped like various animals but then developed to feature cartoon characters such as Mickey Mouse, Popeye, Superman, and Olaf.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade timeline
Rowland Hussey Macy opens four retail dry goods stores.
Rowland Hussey Macy founds a new store called “R. H. Macy & Co.”
Macy’s flagship store moves to Herald Square.
Macy’s holds its first Thanksgiving Day parade.
Macy’s Herald Square is registered as a National Historic Landmark.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade FAQs
Why are animals no longer part of the parade?
The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade featured live animals. This part of the tradition was scrapped and replaced with cartoon characters as the roars and growls from the animals scared the children.
How are marching bands chosen for the parade?
Band directors submit their applications with a video of the band’s performance. The winner is informed 18 months before the parade.
What was the first balloon character in Macy’s parade?
The first character featured in the parade was Felix the Cat
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Activities
Attend the parade
Macy’s parade extends to 2.5 miles. Macy’s official website details the streets with viewing available as well as restaurants and restrooms around the area. Meet up with your friends and family and enjoy the experience.
Watch the livestream
Don’t want to leave the house on Thanksgiving Day? No problem. Watch the livestream on T.V. with your family while enjoying Thanksgiving dinner and save yourself from all the tedious small talk.
There’s no better way to give thanks than to give back. Many kids dream of joining Macy’s Great American Marching band but not everyone who makes it can afford the trip. Donate to help make a kid’s dream come true.
5 Obscure Facts About Macy’s
They love to give back
Each year Macy’s organizes a charity event such as donating tickets to their event, partnering with Meals on Wheels to give seniors a Thanksgiving meal, and giving grants to marching bands that perform in their parade.
The first liquor license in N.Y.C.
Before becoming a major department store, R.H. Macy’s & Co. was issued the first liquor license in New York City.
They introduced new things to America
In the 20th century, Macy’s became the first store in America to feature colored bath towels, tea bags, and baked potatoes.
The logo was inspired by a tattoo
The famous Macy’s logo is inspired by the founder Rowland Macy’s tattoo of a red star (either on his hand or forearm), which symbolizes the time when he was lost at sea while working as a whaler, and found a star that guided him to shore.
Macy’s owner was in the Titanic
Isidor Straus and his wife, Ida, found themselves aboard the most famous ship on earth that only the most elite could be on but, sadly, the couple didn’t make it, as Ida, when instructed to get on the lifeboat, refused to leave her husband behind saying, “As we have lived, so will we die together."
Why We Love Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
It’s a fun tradition
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a great way to start your Thanksgiving holiday and a nice family tradition. It’s fun for all ages to watch and see people’s creativity.
It builds anticipation
Many look forward to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with anticipation, curious to see what new creative floats people will come up with. It makes for fun family discussions. Can you guess what cartoon character will make the next parade?
Macy’s is one of the most well-known stores in America and has become a part of the culture. This was all started by one man with a simple upbringing. His vision has now become a part of history.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade dates