Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Floats & Falloons

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Falloons

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Floats and Falloons

No NYC parade would be complete without floats and falloons. Like the massive, helium-filled balloons that accompany them, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade floats and falloons are lovingly and thoughtfully crafted over the course of each year.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

The magic all begins at the Macy's Parade Studio in Hoboken, New Jersey. There, under the direction of John Piper, Vice President of Annual Events/Parade Studio, a team of builders, painters, animators, and electricians works year-round to create floats that are not only spectacularly creative, but architecturally sound. Each float is constructed piece by piece, then painted and weatherproofed. All floats are engineered in such a way that, once collapsed, they can be safely transported through Lincoln Tunnel. Once they have been transported, by truck, from the Parade Studio to the starting line at 77th Street and Central Park West, these magical floats will be assembled overnight for their parade appearances.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Falloon Characters

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Falloon Characters

While new falloon characters are introduced every year, many crowd favorites remain.

Allegedly coined in the early 1970s by Macy's Day Parade float and balloon designers, the term "falloon," a portmanteau of "float" and "balloon," denotes a cold-air balloon tethered to a parade float. While new falloon characters are introduced every year, many crowd favorites remain. Here are a few of our favorite Macy's Day falloons:

  • Kool-Aid Man: What's cooler than Kool-Aid? First created in 1927 by Edwin and Kitty Perkins, Kool-Aid is Nebraska's official soft drink. This cool Macy's Parade falloon features none other than Kool-Aid's official mascot, the Kool-Aid Man.
  • The Grinch: Each year at the Macy's Day Parade, the grumpy, miserly, and categorically unpleasant star of Dr. Seuss's classic children's book rides down the streets of New York City on his colorful, Seussical sleigh. Adults will laugh and children will cheer when they first lay eyes on this iconic green antihero.
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: As the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade marks the official beginning of the Christmas season, it is fitting that Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer make an appearance. First introduced in 1997, this classic falloon made a notable appearance in 1999, when it bore actress Florence Henderson of The Brady Bunch down the parade route.
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Macy's Thanksgiving Day Floats

Floats have been an important part of the Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade since 1924, when the parade began. They even predate the famous Macy's Day Parade balloons, which did not appear until 1927. Below you'll find a list of our favorite Macy's Day Parade floats:

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Floats

Floats have been an important part of the Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade since 1924.

  • NFL Classic: A fairly recent addition to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, this NFL-sponsored float celebrate's America's favorite sport with turf, stands, and an actual goal post. At the center of this popular NYC float, also known as the Turkey Bowl and the Field of Champions, famous football alumni and some of the league's most cherished mascots will vie for the loudest cheers as they pass their enthusiastic fans along the parade route.
  • Santa's Sleigh: A Macy's Day Parade favorite for over 84 years, Santa's Sleigh, a replica of a winter snow goose, is lined with plush green velvet upholstery and trimmed with Swiss silver sleigh bells. With the sleigh, of course, comes Santa, and with him Mrs. Claus, Santa's elves, and boxes of holiday treats. The most eagerly awaited individual in the Parade and the season, Santa Claus is the last figure to appear in the parade so that he may officially usher in the Christmas season.
  • 123 Sesame Street: One of the parade's most cherished floats, 123 Sesame Street is home to many memorable Sesame Street characters, including well-known friends like Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, Bob, Gina, Miles, and Gabby. Surrounding the two-story, 32' x 20' float is a fanciful fence made of children's silhouettes and a montage of the friendly faces and fun-filled segments seen daily on the show.

A Brief History of Parade Floats

Traditionally defined as a decorated platform either built on top of or towed from behind a vehicle, floats were first used by churches in the Middle Ages as movable scenery for pageant plays. Many of the earliest floats were nothing more than decorated barges towed by parade marchers on the shore (hence the name "floats"). By the 20th century, floats were featured in nearly all major U.S. parades, including the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Key West Fantasy Fest, and the Tournament of Roses Parade (also known as the Rose Parade).