Since 1924, residents of New York City and tourists from all over the world have seen enormous parade balloons fill the city sky on Thanksgiving morning. Those who aren’t at the event in person are glued to their televisions with about 50 million other viewers, watching the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. 

Some of the fan favorite balloons that have paraded down Broadway on Thanksgiving morning are Charlie Brown, Spongebob and Mickey Mouse. Then, of course, Santa Claus and his reindeer parade down the street, getting ready to bring in the Christmas spirit. 

The parade has been a hit and a fan favorite ever since it started in 1924, when about 250,000 spectators came to watch. Even though the media didn’t cover the first parade too extensively, it quickly became a New York City tradition. 

Throughout the early 1900s, the parade’s audience grew a bit every year. Mickey Mouse made his first balloon debut in 1934, which was enough to bring the total viewers into the millions. 

Many changes have been made to help keep the famous tradition safe for spectators and relevant for young viewers. Parade officials made sure to keep balloons close to the ground during windy Thanksgiving mornings to prevent any injuries to watchers.

Furthermore, new characters are brought in every year! The list of balloons who have had the privilege to fly the skies during the parade is extensive, and contains many special characters. It dates back to the original Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, and includes modern television show and movie personalities, such as Olaf from the beloved Disney movie “Frozen.”

This year, you won’t have to go too far in order to see the parade festivities. The reason why is because this year’s parade is only being broadcasted due to COVID-19. Therefore, the best seat for parade viewing is right on your couch!

NBC’s TODAY Show staff that hosts the event every year noted in a recent article that many changes will be made to the parade this year.  

For starters, the overall number of participants has been reduced by 75 percent, and that includes no one younger than 18. The parade route also will be different this year, to reduce the possibility of large crowds. 

However, 26 floats, 12 performances and, most importantly, Santa will be in town for the special event. Viewers will also be able to watch Dolly Parton, Pentatonix, Bebe Rexha, Jimmy Fallon, The Roots and many more perform from the comfort of their own home. 

Although the parade will look much different this year and will see most viewers tuning in from their living room to watch, it will be as close to the real thing as possible.

As an extremely challenging and unique year comes to an end, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will give viewers a chance to enjoy the show and kick-start the much needed holiday spirit. 



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