Vintage Floats From The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (Photos)

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The floats have become increasingly sophisticated but still retain the magic of the holiday.

Like many, one of my earliest (and fondest) holiday memories of growing up in New York revolves around the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. It was one of the very few days my mother had off from work, and she took my sister and me every year. Through the often frigid temperatures, we were filled with the excitement that can only come from the energy of Christmas in New York. Sometimes, behind the snowy views of the floats making their way down the avenue, we’d wave to the celebrities and eagerly await what every city kid knows is the best part of the parade: seeing Santa!

Although the entertainment and celebrities have changed throughout the years, the parade still captures the essence of Thanksgiving Day in New York City.  This year the parade will celebrate its 85th anniversary and over the years, the floats are the one tradition that has probably changed the most.

Over at The Daily Meal, Allison Beck reflects on 85 Years of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in Pictures. Capturing famous floats like Felix the Cat and those amazing Rockettes, the photos date as far back as 1924. While basic in structure, the floats manage to retain the feel-good spirit that is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.

Scroll down to see some of the original floats from the early years:


  • Santa – 1924 1 of 7
    Santa - 1924
    Can you believe Old Saint Nick made his first appearance in the parade back in 1924? He's been thrilling kids every year since then before he boards his sleigh. And we all know that once we see Santa at the Thanksgiving parade, it's officially Christmas season!
    Credit © Macy's
  • Christmas Tree – 1924 2 of 7
    Christmas Tree - 1924
    Did you know the first parade was called the Macy's Christmas Parade? That's why this Christmas Tree float existed back in 1924.
    Credit © Macy's
  • Felix the Cat – 1927 3 of 7
    Felix the Cat - 1927
    Good old Felix was not only devoid of helium, but he (and other balloons) were let loose at the end of the parade route.
    Credit © Macy's
  • Mickey Mouse – 1934 4 of 7
    Mickey Mouse - 1934
    Who doesn't love Disney's Mickey Mouse? Mickey is almost as popular as the big bearded one.
    Credit © Macy's
  • Superman – 1960s 5 of 7
    Superman - 1960s
    This is the 1960s version of the superhero. He actually resurrected in the '80s and became one of the largest balloons ever at that time.
    Credit © Macy's
  • Rockettes – 1970s 6 of 7
    Rockettes - 1970s
    Although this photo is from the '70s, the Rockettes had their first performance at the parade in 1957.
    Credit © Macy's
  • Tom the Turkey – 1970s 7 of 7
    Tom the Turkey - 1970s
    The parade might end with Santa, but it starts every year with our friend Tom the Turkey. And it has ever since 1924.
    Credit © Macy's
    Click here to view the full set of photos


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Article Posted 5 years Ago

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