2012 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Kicks Off Holiday Season

Shannon Turgeon, News Editor

The 86th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade provided entertainment to millions in the form of balloons, floats, and performers on November 22.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has been known as the event that kicks off the holiday season since 1924.  According to the parade’s website, the festivities were originally known as the Macy’s Christmas Parade. The first celebration featured live animals from the Central Park Zoo, as Macy’s didn’t include its now-famous balloon animals until 1927.

This year’s parade featured 1,600 cheerleaders and dancers, 900 clowns, and 11 marching bands, according to the New York Daily News. In addition, there were thirteen balloons that towered over the streets of New York City. Twenty-one unique floats were also featured throughout the parade.

There were multiple new additions to the 2012 festivities.  Elf on a Shelf, Papa Smurf, and a new version of Hello Kitty made appearances as balloons, according to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade website.  There were also several new floats that included the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Goldfish on Parade, and a float that was a tribute to the 75thAnniversary of the March Madness basketball tournament.  In addition, the parade featured dozens of this year’s most popular artists such as Flo Rida, Neon Trees, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Colbie Caillat.

Another change to this year’s parade was the route.  The new path had a total of 2.5 miles for public viewing and allowed more people to see the parade than in previous years, according to the parade’s website.  The “Kick Off” was on 77th Street and Central Park West, and the parade finished in front of Macy’s Herald Square.

It is estimated that more than 3 million people were in attendance at this year’s celebration, and more than 50 million people viewed the parade from their own homes.  The New York Daily News reported that crowds were more than five people deep along the parade route.

Many people also attended the Macy’s Giant Balloon Inflation that occurred the day before the parade. From 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., spectators viewed the parade’s balloons being inflated on 79th Street and Columbus Avenue, according to Yahoo News.  This event offered a “behind the scenes” look at this aspect of the parade preparation.

Additional information about the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade can be found at http://social.macys.com/parade2012_kaws/.