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November 25, 2014

Vintage Photographs From the Early Days of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade dates as far back as the 1920s, when Macy's employees, many of whom were immigrants, began this tradition in an attempt to connect with American culture by celebrating Thanksgiving.

Currently, the parade features enormous and impressive balloons, a variety of performers and paraders and a viewership of over 44 million every year, on television alone. Here's a collection of some of interesting vintage photographs featuring the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade from the early days in the 1920s.

The first Macy’s parade was held in 1924. In the beginning, this was a rather small, employee-run event. That first parade was mostly employees and animals from the Central Park Zoo. Around 250,000 people attended that first parade.

Macy's employees are shown dressed as clowns in 1924.

The 1924 Balloonatics float inspired famed puppeteer and Macy's window designer Tony Sarg to create inflatable upside down marionettes, otherwise known as Macy's giant helium balloons.

The star of the first and every Macy's parade, Santa Claus, is seen here on his first float in 1924.

The first few parades did have some major highlights: the floats. The biggest and the best was Santa’s float. Here he is being watched by the crowd in 1925.

A parade float from the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, 1926.

The parade is now famous for its balloons, but the first parades didn't have them. The very first balloon, Felix the Cat, didn’t make his appearance until 1927. This is the year the parade was re-named the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.

Felix the Cat, debuted in the Thanksgiving Day parade in 1927.

Macy's presented Felix the Cat, its first ever giant inflatable balloon, in 1927.

Felix the Cat giant balloon in 1927.

A parade float from the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, 1927.

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.

Anthony Sarg (center) and puppeteers touch up a parade balloon in 1929.

Daschund- Released after conclusion of Parade 1929.

1st Macy's Parade advertisement - Originally called Macy's Christmas Parade, on November 26, 1924.

(Images courtesy of Macy's)


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