10 longest balloon floats in ‘Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade’

When you’re not watching Thanksgiving favorites like A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving or every Thanksgiving episode of Bob’s Burgers, you probably spend the day watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. A Thanksgiving Day staple since 1924, this parade is beloved for its musical performances, extravagant floats and balloon characters that all help kick off the holiday season.


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With nearly 96 parades and counting taking to the streets of New York to celebrate the holiday, the event has seen more than 200 different balloons during its nearly 10-decade run. But some balloons become so popular that they stick around for several years, while a very special character will celebrate more than 40 parades this year.

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10/10 Big Bird – 19 parades

Big Bird in Macy's Thanksgiving Parade

sesame street has played a part in Macy’s Parade since 1974 with the launch of their float which has featured several muppets over the years, but only one has occasionally appeared in person and in balloon form.

Big Bird made his first parade in 1988 wearing a Christmas sweater and ABC winter hat, an outfit he remained in until 2001, when he changed into a scarf red and played symbols for six years until the ball was retired in 2006.

9/10 Smokey Bear – 20 Parades

Smokey Bear in Macy's Thanksgiving Parade

Smokey Bear is everyone’s favorite advertising icon who has always reminded viewers that only you can prevent wildfires. And in 1966, Smokey’s 420-pound balloon made its first flutter down 7th Avenue to celebrate NBC musical special The Ballad of Smokey Bear.

Smokey Bear appeared in the parade consecutively until 1981, then made his return in 1993 to celebrate his 50th birthday the following year. Smokey’s balloon was not seen for over two decades until its return in 2019. It then missed the 2020 parade due to COVID-19, then returned in 2021 with plans to float through New York in 2022.

8/10 Mickey Mouse – 20 parades

Mickey Mouse in Macy's Thanksgiving Parade

The big cheese The Walt Disney Company appeared in 20 Macy’s shows with many different looks. The beloved character’s very first balloon was created in Akron, Ohio in the fall of 1934, but was never seen live due to a fire at the storage center it was. destroying.

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After workers rushed to rebuild the ball, Mickey Mouse made his parade debut, appearing for two years before being retired and brought back with an all-new look in 1971 to promote the grand opening of Walt Disney World. Mickey has since appeared in the parade as a bandleader and cruise ship captain.

7/10 Sinclair’s Dino – 21 parries

Sinclair Dino in Macy's Thanksgiving Parade

The Sinclair Oil Corporation’s lovable mascot, Dino, first appeared in the parade in 1963 as a green helium balloon that was exactly the same size as an Apatosaurus. Dino would not be seen again in tank form until 2015, when an all-new version was introduced on the parade route to celebrate the company’s 100th anniversary.

This new Dino tank remained in the parade until 2021 when it was retired and a brand new tank was created to recognize the company’s acquisition from HollyFrontier. This new float makes its parade debut in 2022 and features Dino giving a ride to a baby dino boyfriend to symbolize the company’s growing family.

6/10 Kermit the frog – 22 parries

Kermit in Macy's Thanksgiving Parade

When Macy’s Parade got a new executive in 1977, its first choice for a new balloon was Kermit the Frog from The Muppets. Kermit’s new addition to the parade lasted a decade from 1977 to 1987, despite a major accident sending him crashing to the ground during the 1985 parade.

Three years after his retirement, Kermit returns in 1990 to pay tribute to his late creator Jim Henson. After the balloon’s second major accident during the 1991 parade, it was officially retired and replaced with a new balloon in 2002, which traveled the parade route intermittently until 2012.

5/10 Pikachu – 22 parries

Pikachu in Macy's Thanksgiving Parade

It seems like Pikachu has always been Macy’s parade ball, but the Pokemon star premiered during its first runway show in 2001, coinciding with the franchise’s fifth anniversary. This ball stayed in the parade for five years before being replaced by a new ball that would now feature the famous PokéBall.

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Due to overinflation just before the 2012 parade which caused the balloon’s ears to burst, its last parade was in 2013 before being replaced by a brand new balloon decked out in a Christmas sash. This ball was replaced 7 years later with one featuring Pikachu with Eevee on a PokéBall sled to celebrate the franchise’s 25th anniversary.

4/10 Harold the fireman – 25 parades

Harold the Fireman in Macy's Thanksgiving Parade

Harold the fireman is known as an original Macy’s character who made his parade debut as a balloon in 1948. Harold would not be seen again until the parade’s 70th anniversary in 1996, when he would return with a new design as a balloon. novelty.

Harold remained in the parade every year until his retirement in 2017. The ball later appeared in the 2019 parade, and after missing the 2020 parade due to COVID-19 and skipping 2021, Harold is on the about to return to the parade route in 2022.

3/10 Rocky and Bullwinkle – 26 parades

Bullwinkle in Macy's Thanksgiving Parade

After The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show move from ABC at NBC in 1961, Bullwinkle made his Macy’s Parade debut that same year as a balloon, remaining in the parade for more than two decades without his squirrel sidekick due to the idea that Rocky’s balloon would be scrapped and never created.

After a major accident in 1982 and over 20 years of wear and tear, the ball was retired and redesigned for the parade’s 70th anniversary in 1996. After missing the next few parades, Rocky and Bullwinkle appeared on their newly designed ball in 1999., and due to the cold deflating Rocky, Bullwinkle made his final appearance at the 2000 parade.

2/10 Ronald McDonald – 29 parades

Ronald McDonald in Macy's Thanksgiving Parade

Fast food chain McDonald’s made its parade debut in 1966 as a float, but it wasn’t until 1987 that its mascot Ronald McDonald was created as a balloon, posing in a spring and holding a bouquet of colorful balloons. This tank remained in the parade intermittently until it was retired in 1994.

Ronald returned to the parade in 2000, this time in a straight pose without his bouquet of balloons, and was in the parade every year until he got a makeover at Christmas in 2009 with ice skates and a scarf . This balloon will remain in the parade until 2015, when Ronald will appear in a red Christmas sweater until 2020. The newest Ronald balloon features the clown holding a red heart.

1/10 Snoopy – 43 parries

Snoopy in Macy's Thanksgiving Parade

Of all the characters to appear in the Macy’s Parade, Snoopy from The peanuts floated over New York the most often and in the most variations. Snoopy had the honor of appearing in 43 parades, making him a staple of the holiday event.

As an aviator, in a Macy’s sweater, on ice skates, in a party hat, as the Flying Ace, with his pal Woodstock, and especially as an astronaut, Snoopy has flown over New York on and off since his parade. made its debut in 1968 and will continue its reign as the hottest balloon as an astronaut in 2022.

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