For so many Americans, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (also known as the Macy’s Day Parade) is as much of a tradition on Thanksgiving as is eating pumpkin pie. Since 1924, larger than life balloons and festive floats have made their way across town, wowing both kids and adults alike. As a matter of fact, Nyctourist.com reports the first ever Macy’s Day Parade took a different route than is traveled these days, first starting at Herald Square, making its way all the way up to Harlem. This route was a marketing gimmick of its day, originally intending to draw attention to the store (it worked!).
Nearly 91 years later, and this parade is as popular as ever! For as long as I can remember, I’ve been watching the special spectacle on Thanksgiving morning, always wishing one day I’d be able to attend. Well, that wish came true this year, and it couldn’t have been a more amazing experience.
Overcome with pure joy and excitement, I felt like a child preparing for Santa the night before he arrives, except this time, it was the night before Thanksgiving and I was heading to the magnificent march! As my alarm rang loud and clear at 6am, I couldn’t help but jump out of bed and quickly bundle up, ready to head Uptown for the popular parade.
As we entered the ticketing area (yes, a friend of mine scored some tickets giving us access to seats in the Grand Stands), I could feel everyone’s energy and excitement to be part of this annual event.
After a couple hours of sitting in the brisk morning temperatures (yes, a couple hours, but well worth the wait), an NYPD motorcycle caravan rumbled past us leading the pack towards the finish line at the world renowned original Macy’s store on 34th Street – the site of so many movies, memories and magic.
Not far behind them was the Macy’s Great American Marching Band, tootin’ and trottin’ their way down Columbus Avenue. As the last band members followed, the first of the floats and balloons floated by – a big turkey in honor of Thanksgiving and Pixar’s Ice Age, Skrat (the Squirrel) and his acorn. Then came Hello Kitty, Paddington Bear, Diary of a Wimpy Kid – and so on and so forth.
After each one, I’d lean forward just a little bit more so as to catch a glimpse of what was next in line. I couldn’t get enough. As each helium filled balloon floated high above, it danced in the wind, casting shapely shadows on the crowd below. They were huge, happy, and nothing but pure magic.
Seeing them in person is impressive and definitely something everyone has to do at least once in their life. The sheer size and detail of these intricately designed event ensembles are impressive enough on TV, but in person, they’re simply stupendous. I had a smile from ear to ear as my inner 5 year old girl ooh’d and awe’d at the bright colors and cheerful presence of each.
I was loving every second of this enchanting experience, but as the minutes seemed to zip, I was secretly wishing time would stand still. I didn’t want it to end and before I knew it, it was time to jet as I had to make my flight to visit my family in Miami.
Sadly, I began to make my way toward the exit even though it took every ounce of me not to. My first Macy’s Day Parade was nothing short of amazing and one I hope to make a yearly tradition as the years march on. Thank you, Macy’s. Thank you for giving us all a few hours of magic!