Best of Office Weekly Roundup: Epic Thanksgiving Balloons

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The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has been a Thanksgiving tradition as commonplace as holiday travel, huge plates of food, and football. Over the years, we have seen bigger and grander balloons at the parades, each with their own unique characteristics and backstories. In this week’s roundup, we’ll look at some of the most epic balloons that have graced our TV screens since mid-20th century.

Before Garfield was cool

Before Garfield was cool

The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade took place in Manhattan in 1924, but there were no balloons for that year or the next. Parade organizers arranged for live animals to be used on loan from the Central Park zoo until the 1927 parade, which featured the popular Felix the Cat as one of the first balloons used. The balloon was also famous for having gotten caught in telephone wires and catching fire!

You know what time it is?

You know what time it is?

The 2013 parade featured the lovable characters Finney and Jake from the children’s show “Adventure Time.” At three stories tall, it required a staggering 90 balloon handlers.

Just a dog. A BIG dog.

Just a dog. A BIG dog.

This generic dog, which was featured in the 1929 parade, was one of the first balloons to feature safety valves, which allowed for their helium to be released into the air. Handlers would release the balloons into the air at the end of the parade and Macy’s would offer a generous award for anyone who volunteered to return the balloons.

Too big for your lawn

Too big for your lawn

The parade went live locally for the first time in 1946 and went international the following year. When TV viewers first saw the parade on their screens, they were greeted with this cute gnome!

Washing out the onlookers just because

Washing out the onlookers just because

The parade in 1957 was welcomed with rainy weather, which was bad news for onlookers who got to saw Popeye. His balloon was made with an indentation on his cap, which had the unintended side effect of retaining water to the point that the added weight made the balloon veer off course, dousing spectators with icy cold water. Popeye’s next appearance was a bit drier, thankfully.

The beagle among beagles

The beagle among beagles

Known as the world’s most famous beagle, Snoopy has become synonymous with the parade. He has had the most appearances of any other character used in the parade, with 8 appearances since 1968. He has also made 32 appearances in other parades, more than any other character.

Look! Up in the sky!

Look! Up in the sky!

The man of steel debuted in 1939 and flew with some of the most famous characters of the time. The 1980 version of Superman was and, as of this writing, still remains the largest balloon ever used in the parade’s history. He has not made an appearance since, but we hear that he’s too busy protecting our planet to join in on the festivities.

  • Shawna O

    I absolutely Love watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!

    • Michelle Liu

      It’s exciting, isn’t it? Planning on going again this year?