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Arguably the most American holiday is Thanksgiving. The annual festival is celebrated at millions of tables across the nation. And while the holiday celebrates home, family, and the changing seasons, there is one component of Thanksgiving that takes place outside the home: the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. From its beginnings in 1924 through its present-day annual slow march down the streets of Manhattan, the parade has delighted all who line the route or tune in on television. Throughout the decades, gigantic balloons, marching bands, and celebrity-decked floats fill the parade, culminating with the first seasonal appearance of Santa Claus himself!
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In 1924, R. H. Macy and Company introduced the Macy’s Christmas Parade (Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade started out as a Christmas pageant).
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Helium filed balloons became increasingly popular in the 1930s.
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Advertisement for the 1934 parade.
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After several years of no parade due to wartime austerity, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade came roaring back, bigger than ever.
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Characters from movies and television, like Popeye and Mighty Mouse, were invited to the parade in the 1950s.
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In the 1960s, offbeat television characters Underdog and Bullwinkle floated the parade route.
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Whether created in ink or felt, you know you’ve made it when you get your invitation to be in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Check out one of the 1970s’ breakout TV stars Kermit the Frog. Soon, his pals on Sesame Street would have their own float, with Santa tagging along for a ride.
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Comic book super heroes were big hits, and in 1987, Spider-Man joined a decades-old Superman in the parade.
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