The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is an annual event presented by the U.S. based department store chain. The tradition started in 1924, tying it for the second-oldest Thanksgiving parade in the United States. What parade is the oldest in America?

 

There is also America's Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit which is a popular Thanksgiving Day tradition. However, both the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and America's Thanksgiving Parade are four years younger than the grand daddy of them all. The 6ABC - Dunkin' Donuts Thanksgiving Day Santa Claus Parade held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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According to Wikipedia, "This annual parade is currently sponsored by ABC owned and operated television station WPVI-TV, with a co-sponsorship agreement with Dunkin Donuts. This parade is the oldest Thanksgiving Day parade in America and has been known as the 6ABC IKEA Thanksgiving Day Parade, 6ABC Boscov's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Channel 6 Mellon PSFS Thanksgiving Day Parade, Channel 6 MasterCard Thanksgiving Day Parade and originally the Gimbels Thanksgiving Day Parade until the department store closed operations in 1986".

Those big character balloons in the parade started out as live animals, but too expensive and dangerous to control. The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in Akin, Ohio was contracted to replace the live animals in 1927. That was when Felix The Cat Balloon made its debut. Felix was filled with air, but by the next year, helium was used to fill the expanding cast of balloons.

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How cool was this finale. At the finale of the 1928 parade, the balloons were released into the sky, where they unexpectedly burst. The following year, they were redesigned with safety valves to allow them to float for a few days. Address labels were sewn into them, so that whoever found and mailed back the discarded balloon received a gift from Macy's. Sad to say that this tradition has long been gone.

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Get ready because the three-hour Macy's Parade begins at 8:00 A.M. Central Time this Thanksgiving Day, and will be televised nationally on NBC, the same network it has been on since 1952.

Bring on the floats, the singing, and Santa. America's tradition will be here before you know it.