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article imageThe Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade: America's favorite tradition

By Karen Graham     Nov 26, 2014 in Lifestyle
New York City - Nothing says "Happy Thanksgiving" in America than the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. If you're not one of the 3.5 million New Yorkers lining the streets to watch the parade, then you're one of over 50 million people viewing it on TV.
The annual parade, in its 88th year, starts on Thursday, November 27, at 9 a.m. The anchors this year are all from NBC's "Today" show, and most of the viewing public know them well. Matt Lauer, Al Roker and Savannah Guthrie will watch along with us as we enjoy the floats, giant character balloons and Christmas music played by marching bands from all over the country.
The annual march down to Herald Square started in 1924, and with the exception of being suspended in 1942–1944 during World War II, has been a staple of our Thanksgiving holiday ever since. As usual, many celebrities are included in the parade lineup this year.
This year, one of the "special" celebrities is a well known Broadway veteran, Idina Menzel. She is the voice of princess "Elsa," in Disney's fairytale, "Frozen." It's a sure bet that the youngsters will immediately recognize the music. Solo artist "Sting" will also be one of the "special" celebs featured in this year's parade, as well as Nick Jonas, formally of the Jonas Brothers, and now performing solo.
The parade's executive producer Amy Kule, says “Our talent lineup truly reflects our audience. Where else but the Macy's Parade can you see rock ‘n’ roll legends Kiss performing alongside newcomers like Meghan Trainor, Lucy Hale, and The Vamps? The breadth of talent really shows just how diverse an audience the Macy's Parade captures."
Today's parade is unlike the very first parade. The theme of that first parade in 1924 matched the nursery-rhyme themed windows of the Macy's Department Store. Floats featured Mother Goose, the Old Woman in a Shoe, Little Miss Muffet and Red Riding hood. Live animals from the Central Park Zoo joined the parade, giving a festive, circus-like atmosphere to the event.
Animals from the Central Park Zoo were in the parade until 1926.
Animals from the Central Park Zoo were in the parade until 1926.
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And of course, as it has been every year since, the special guest-of-honor, Santa Claus brought up the rear. He was sitting in his sleigh, drawn by eight tiny reindeer, all atop a mountain of ice. The zoo animals did not enjoy the six-mile long trek to the front of Macy's Herald Square storefront, nor did the marchers following along behind the animals. In 1927, with the debut of "Felix the Cat," a helium-filled balloon, the signature giant character balloon tradition began.
In this image from the 1948 parade  Santa Claus makes his annual visit to New York City.
In this image from the 1948 parade, Santa Claus makes his annual visit to New York City.
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Since that very first balloon, the fantasies of children everywhere have been brought to life each succeeding year. We have seen Clifford, the Big Red Dog, and a host of Disney Characters, including Mickey Mouse and Goofy. Fairy tales, SpongeBob, Buzz Lightyear, and Horton the elephant are just a very few of the amazing balloons that have brought children's stories to life. This year will be no exception, as Thomas the Tank Engine, Paddington Bear, Skylanders and the Red Power Ranger join the parade.
Thomas the Tank Engine makes his first appearance in the Macy s Thanksgiving Day Parade this year.
Thomas the Tank Engine makes his first appearance in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade this year.
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Paddington Bear  a popular and beloved storybook figure will be flying high this year.
Paddington Bear, a popular and beloved storybook figure will be flying high this year.
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The Red Ranger is known to little children all over the country.
The Red Ranger is known to little children all over the country.
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