From historical to horrific to humorous, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is iconic
The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is an unapologetic, cross-promotional cheese-fest. But whether you love or hate it, you have to admit that its giant balloons are nearly as synonymous with the holiday feast as turkey, cranberries, and indigestion.
Nostalgic for the days before it was taken over by American Idol cast-offs and Disney tween-stars, we compiled a list of 10 of the most memorable moments from the parade's 85-year history, from notable firsts to tragic balloon mishaps and perhaps the best rick-rolling stunt ever (sorry MIT). Click below to re-live the triumphs and the horrors of Thanksgivings passed.
#10: Felix the Cat balloon leads the way, 1927
The original Macy's parade was held in Haverhill in 1854, where Rowland H. Macy ran a dry goods store before relocating to Manhattan. He started the parades on a larger scale in 1924, and three years later swapped out live animals for animal-shaped balloons. Felix the Cat led the march.
In an act that would horrify the environmentalists of today, the balloons were then released into the New York skyline following the parade. That year they popped, but the balloons came back in 1928 sturdier and affixed with return address labels. Macy's offered handsome rewards to anyone lucky enough to find a balloon.