PHOTOS: Past and present — balloons of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

The Grinch balloon will attempt to steal some holiday cheer in his first-ever appearance in the 91st Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Nov. 23, 2017. (Photo: Gordon Donovan/Yahoo News)
The Grinch balloon will attempt to steal some holiday cheer in his first-ever appearance in the 91st Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Nov. 23, 2017. (Photo: Gordon Donovan/Yahoo News)

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is an annual parade presented by the U.S.-based retail store chain Macy’s. The tradition started in 1924 and is the second-oldest Thanksgiving parade in the United States.

In 1927, the parade debuted its signature balloons to great fanfare. Felix the Cat was the the first-ever-character balloon, kicking off a star-studded roster than has included more than 100 of the world’s most famous characters.

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The three-hour Macy’s event has been televised nationally on NBC since 1952. (Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade)

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The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade passes down Broadway in New York on Nov. 27, 1930. The parade’s first giant balloons debuted in 1927. (Photo: AP)
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade passes down Broadway in New York on Nov. 27, 1930. The parade’s first giant balloons debuted in 1927. (Photo: AP)
A fish balloon is released as the parade nears its end on Broadway in 1929. They were filled with helium and will drift for a week, with a $100 prize awarded for each one recovered. (Photo: Underwood Archives/Getty Images)
A fish balloon is released as the parade nears its end on Broadway in 1929. They were filled with helium and will drift for a week, with a $100 prize awarded for each one recovered. (Photo: Underwood Archives/Getty Images)
A large outdoor float of Captain Nemo makes its way down the street during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, on Nov. 28, 1929. (Photo: AP)
A large outdoor float of Captain Nemo makes its way down the street during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, on Nov. 28, 1929. (Photo: AP)
A Felix the Cat balloon and other parade floats and balloons are led down Broadway during the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1930. (Photo: Underwood & Underwood/Corbis/Getty Images)
A Felix the Cat balloon and other parade floats and balloons are led down Broadway during the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1930. (Photo: Underwood & Underwood/Corbis/Getty Images)
A not-too-ferocious dragon caught fancy of crowd at 1931 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Nov. 21,1931. (Photo: New York Daily News Archive/Getty Images)
A not-too-ferocious dragon caught fancy of crowd at 1931 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Nov. 21,1931. (Photo: New York Daily News Archive/Getty Images)
This blind pig is not a speakeasy. He’s coming from the 1932 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. And don’t let that perspective fool you. Mr. Pig is not really over Empire State Building. (Photo: New York Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
This blind pig is not a speakeasy. He’s coming from the 1932 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. And don’t let that perspective fool you. Mr. Pig is not really over Empire State Building. (Photo: New York Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Broadway in New York City on Nov. 30, 1933. (Photo: AP)
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Broadway in New York City on Nov. 30, 1933. (Photo: AP)
Sea serpent (surprise! it’s only a big balloon!) swoops down on crowds watching thirteenth annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade on Broadway and 56th St., Nov. 25, 1937. (Photo: Walter Kelleher/New York Daily News Archive/Getty Images)
Sea serpent (surprise! it’s only a big balloon!) swoops down on crowds watching thirteenth annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade on Broadway and 56th St., Nov. 25, 1937. (Photo: Walter Kelleher/New York Daily News Archive/Getty Images)
A soldier is marching straight at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1932. (Photo: New York Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
A soldier is marching straight at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1932. (Photo: New York Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
A scene from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade along Broadway in New York City on Nov. 30, 1933. (Photo: AP)
A scene from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade along Broadway in New York City on Nov. 30, 1933. (Photo: AP)
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Broadway in New York City on Nov. 30, 1933. (Photo: AP)
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Broadway in New York City on Nov. 30, 1933. (Photo: AP)
The Tin Man flies high in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in 1939. (Photo: Joe Costa/New York Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
The Tin Man flies high in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in 1939. (Photo: Joe Costa/New York Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
Balloons float down Broadway in thirteenth annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. (Photo: Walter Kelleher/New York Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
Balloons float down Broadway in thirteenth annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. (Photo: Walter Kelleher/New York Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
This was the scene at Times Square in New York during the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, Nov. 23, 1945. It’s the first parade since the festivities were suspended with the war in 1941. Here, the Teddy Bear passes a reproduction of the Statue of Liberty. (Photo: AP)
This was the scene at Times Square in New York during the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, Nov. 23, 1945. It’s the first parade since the festivities were suspended with the war in 1941. Here, the Teddy Bear passes a reproduction of the Statue of Liberty. (Photo: AP)
A helium-filled alligator is hauled through Times Square during Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in 1949. The parade drew an estimated 2,000,000 spectators. (Photo: New York Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
A helium-filled alligator is hauled through Times Square during Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in 1949. The parade drew an estimated 2,000,000 spectators. (Photo: New York Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
Dopey Clown and a hippo in Macy’s annual Thanksgiving Day parade trundles down Central Park West in 1940. (Photo: New York Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
Dopey Clown and a hippo in Macy’s annual Thanksgiving Day parade trundles down Central Park West in 1940. (Photo: New York Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
Empire State Building forms a background for this helium-filled clown floating along 34th Street in Macy Parade in 1945. (Photo: Art Whittaker/New York Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
Empire State Building forms a background for this helium-filled clown floating along 34th Street in Macy Parade in 1945. (Photo: Art Whittaker/New York Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
A giant baseball player float moves down 7th Avenue during the Macy’ Thanksgiving Day Parade on Nov. 28, 1946. (Photo: John Rooney/AP)
A giant baseball player float moves down 7th Avenue during the Macy’ Thanksgiving Day Parade on Nov. 28, 1946. (Photo: John Rooney/AP)
A huge balloon in the form of comic fireman floats over Broadway during the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Nov. 25, 1948. (Photo: John Rooney/AP)
A huge balloon in the form of comic fireman floats over Broadway during the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Nov. 25, 1948. (Photo: John Rooney/AP)
Mighty Mouse makes a spectacle of himself at Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade on Nov. 22, 1956. (Photo: Hal Mathewson/New York Daily News Archive/Getty Images)
Mighty Mouse makes a spectacle of himself at Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade on Nov. 22, 1956. (Photo: Hal Mathewson/New York Daily News Archive/Getty Images)
A giant turkey float squeezes between buildings as the 31st annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade moves down Broadway near 37th Street in New York, Nov. 28, 1957. (Photo: John Lindsay/AP)
A giant turkey float squeezes between buildings as the 31st annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade moves down Broadway near 37th Street in New York, Nov. 28, 1957. (Photo: John Lindsay/AP)
Helium-filled rubber space man, 70 feet tall, indicative of the latest adventure interest of America’s kids, bobs along in 27th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, Nov. 26, 1953. (Photo: Nick Sorrentino/New York Daily News Archive/Getty Images)
Helium-filled rubber space man, 70 feet tall, indicative of the latest adventure interest of America’s kids, bobs along in 27th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, Nov. 26, 1953. (Photo: Nick Sorrentino/New York Daily News Archive/Getty Images)
Helium-filled Popeye balloon figure floats above some of the 1,300,000 persons watching the 33rd Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade pass through Times Square, New York, Nov. 26, 1959. (Photo: AP)
Helium-filled Popeye balloon figure floats above some of the 1,300,000 persons watching the 33rd Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade pass through Times Square, New York, Nov. 26, 1959. (Photo: AP)
Comedian Jimmy Durante rides on a Jumbo the elephant float during the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City on Nov. 22, 1962. (Photo: AP)
Comedian Jimmy Durante rides on a Jumbo the elephant float during the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City on Nov. 22, 1962. (Photo: AP)
A big-headed dragon sails over Columbus Circle in 1961. (Photo: Gordon Rynders/New York Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
A big-headed dragon sails over Columbus Circle in 1961. (Photo: Gordon Rynders/New York Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
Donald floats down the street in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in 1962. (Photo: Gordon Rynders/New York Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
Donald floats down the street in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in 1962. (Photo: Gordon Rynders/New York Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
The Bullwinkle balloon floats high above the crowd during the 1977 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Nov. 24, 1977. (Photo: NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images)
The Bullwinkle balloon floats high above the crowd during the 1977 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Nov. 24, 1977. (Photo: NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images)
Mickey Mouse takes in Broadway’s sights, including a crowd of more than a million, at the 55th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Nov. 26, 1981. (Photo: Harry Hamburg/New York Daily News Archive/Getty Images)
Mickey Mouse takes in Broadway’s sights, including a crowd of more than a million, at the 55th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Nov. 26, 1981. (Photo: Harry Hamburg/New York Daily News Archive/Getty Images)
Betty Boop collapses on Broadway near 49th Street as handlers work to raise the deflated helium balloon during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, Nov. 27, 1986. Betty Boop, the last balloon in the parade, could not finish the parade. (Photo: Ron Frehm/AP)
Betty Boop collapses on Broadway near 49th Street as handlers work to raise the deflated helium balloon during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, Nov. 27, 1986. Betty Boop, the last balloon in the parade, could not finish the parade. (Photo: Ron Frehm/AP)
A giant balloon depicting the cartoon character Woodstock casts a shadow on a building behind spectators during the 87th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Nov. 28, 2013, in New York. (Photo: John Minchillo/AP)
A giant balloon depicting the cartoon character Woodstock casts a shadow on a building behind spectators during the 87th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Nov. 28, 2013, in New York. (Photo: John Minchillo/AP)
A giant Snoopy balloon is marched through Columbus Circle during the 87th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Nov. 28, 2013, in New York. (Photo: John Minchillo/AP)
A giant Snoopy balloon is marched through Columbus Circle during the 87th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Nov. 28, 2013, in New York. (Photo: John Minchillo/AP)
A giant Uncle Sam balloon is marched down Sixth Avenue during the 87th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Nov. 28, 2013. (Photo: John Minchillo/AP)
A giant Uncle Sam balloon is marched down Sixth Avenue during the 87th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Nov. 28, 2013. (Photo: John Minchillo/AP)
Red Ranger Morphin Power Ranger balloon is brought down 6th Ave. in the 88th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York in New York, Nov. 27, 2014. (Photo: Gordon Donovan/Yahoo News)
Red Ranger Morphin Power Ranger balloon is brought down 6th Ave. in the 88th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York in New York, Nov. 27, 2014. (Photo: Gordon Donovan/Yahoo News)
Angry Bird Red heads into Columbus Circle in the 89th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Nov. 26, 2015. (Photo: Gordon Donovan/Yahoo News)
Angry Bird Red heads into Columbus Circle in the 89th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Nov. 26, 2015. (Photo: Gordon Donovan/Yahoo News)
Scrat, the rambunctious star of the Ice Age franchise, heads down Central Park West in the 89th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Nov. 26, 2015. (Photo: Gordon Donovan/Yahoo News)
Scrat, the rambunctious star of the Ice Age franchise, heads down Central Park West in the 89th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Nov. 26, 2015. (Photo: Gordon Donovan/Yahoo News)
Eruptor returns to the parade for his third flight, in the 90th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016. Literally a force of nature, Skylanders' Eruptor will fly high, delighting fans of all ages. (Photo: Gordon Donovan/Yahoo News)
Eruptor returns to the parade for his third flight, in the 90th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016. Literally a force of nature, Skylanders' Eruptor will fly high, delighting fans of all ages. (Photo: Gordon Donovan/Yahoo News)
The first appearance of “Frozen’s” Olaf balloon in the 91st Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Nov. 23, 2017. (Photo: Gordon Donovan/Yahoo News)
The first appearance of “Frozen’s” Olaf balloon in the 91st Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Nov. 23, 2017. (Photo: Gordon Donovan/Yahoo News)

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