Barney and Felix The Cat Macy's Day parade balloons

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is as big part of the Thanksgiving holiday as football and turkey. Across the nation, approximately 50 million people tune in to watch the parade every year while 3.5 million New Yorkers watch it live. Did you know the first ever Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade started over 90 years ago in 1924? Originally the parade was held to celebrate Macy’s grand opening of the “World’s Largest Store” with 1 million square feet of shopping retail. The parade was meant to create buzz about the store in time for the Christmas holiday shopping season. Nobody could have guessed that it would start a holiday tradition nearly a century later. Over the years, however, there have been a number of accidents associated with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons.

 

Barney, 1994 and 1997

On two separate occasions, the purple T-rex caused trouble for its handlers. In 1994, Barney broke free altogether when a gust of wind caught the dinosaur and pulled it straight out of their hands. It took the help of the NYPD to wrangle the rouge float. In 1997, Barney was stabbed to death by parade officials in an attempt to stop Barney from crashing into a lamppost after another balloon float had crashed.

Felix the Cat, 1927

Felix the Cat was the first official Macy’s Day Parade balloon, and he was also the first inflated causality in the parade’s ongoing history. The accident happened when Felix got tangled in telephone wires and caught on fire!