It covers 43 city blocks, its spectators number 3 million; it features 800 clowns, 40 balloons, 25 floats, and 10 marching bands. The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade was originally called the Macy's Christmas Parade: it starts with a large turkey and ends with the arrival of Santa's sleigh. It's a hard concept for Canadians to understand, given that the temperature is still well above zero here when we celebrate Thanksgiving. The parade starts at 77th street, winds its way past Central Park, past Radio City Music Hall, past Rockefeller Center, turns on to 34th Street, where spectators watch from the Empire State Building, and stops at Macy's Department Store.
The Thanksgiving Day Parade started in the Roaring Twenties and was originally planned and executed by the Macy's employees. The early years of the event featured animals from the Central Park Zoo but within a short time they had helium balloon characters, the first of which was Felix the Cat (1927). In 1939, Superman flew above the metropolis for the first time. In 1947, the year that the movie "Miracle on 34th Street" premiered, Artie the Pirate was added to the cast of characters. Popeye flexed his muscles in the Big Apple in 1957. Snoopy donned his flying goggles as a World War I flying ace in 1968. Kermit the Frog hopped down New York City streets in 1977. Spiderman spun his webs between the high rises in 1987. Arthur the famous aardvark joined the parade in 1997. Hello Kitty floated through the streets in 2007. Every year at least one new character makes an appearance at the Macy's parade. It's reassuring to see New Yorkers, both old and young, enjoying the innocence of a parade. Happy Thanksgiving, America!
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