A Historic Procession: The World-famous Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Celebrates 90 Years As The Official Start Of The Holiday Season (Graphic: Business Wire)

This November, America's favorite holiday tradition will mark a milestone anniversary, once again kicking off the holidays with its signature brand of magical entertainment. On Thursday, Nov. 24, the 90 th Macy's (NYSE:M) Thanksgiving Day Parade ® will march down the streets of New York City as millions celebrate with family and friends. The unparalleled spectacle is set to enthrall more than 3.5 million spectators lining the streets of Manhattan and more than 50 million viewers on television, with a host of giant character balloons, dazzling floats, the nation's best marching bands and performance groups, celebrities, and the official entrance of the one-and-only Santa Claus.

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A Historic Procession: The world-famous Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade celebrates 90 years as the of ...

A Historic Procession: The world-famous Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade celebrates 90 years as the official start of the holiday season (Graphic: Business Wire)

"Since our historic first march in 1924, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade has been a call to celebration. Over the years, generations have gathered to enjoy the spectacle of high-flying balloons, fantasy floats, incredible performers, and the one-and-only Santa Claus, as the annual march became synonymous with the start of the holiday season," said Amy Kule, executive producer of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. "This year, as we celebrate 90 years of magical moments, we are truly humbled by the unique role the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade fills in the lives of millions worldwide, and we are thrilled to celebrate this special milestone with a spectacular line-up filled with amazing new and commemorative elements that will continue our storied legacy of unparalleled holiday entertainment."

Since its origin in 1924, the Macy's Parade has marked the official start of the holiday season, introducing a cherished march of magic that has dazzled generations of fans. For the 90 th edition, the famed spectacle's line-up will feature 16 giant character balloons; 27 novelty/ornament balloons, balloonicles and trycaloons; 26 floats; 1,100 cheerleaders and dancers; more than 1,000 clowns; and 16 marching bands and performance groups.

LET'S HAVE A PARADE

For nine decades, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade has been a march like no other. Bringing generations an unrivaled procession filled with more than 8,000 volunteer participants dressed as clowns, strutting their stuff in a marching band or escorting the Parade's signature giant inflatables and floats of fantasy into the hearts of millions. Originally known as the Macy's Christmas Parade, the tradition was started by Macy's employees who wanted to celebrate the holiday season with a grand pageant similar to the over-the-top carnivals and festivals of Europe. The first Parade featured fanciful floats, employee marching bands, clown groups and real animals from the Central Park Zoo. Stretching from Harlem at 145 th Street and Convent Avenue down more than five miles to Macy's Herald Square, the first event was such a success that it was deemed by Macy's to be an annual event from that point forward. While many elements have grown and been adapted over time, the heart of the Parade has always involved Macy's own employee volunteers, talented marching bands and dazzling floats - elements that have paved the way for imagination and grand spectacle. One of those jaw-dropping additions came in 1927. Replacing the live animals who some said scared children along the route, the Parade introduced its first inflatables, debuting four giant balloons filled with air and carried on sticks down the route. That inaugural balloon line-up included the first-ever, character-based balloon featuring the likeness of famed animated film star, Felix the Cat. To make the balloons lighter than air, the following year, helium was added, helping the giants float down the route.

Since its inception, the Parade has marched during tumultuous periods in our collective history. Only one event has ever caused the cancelation of the Parade and that was World War II. During a three-year period from 1941 until 1943, the event was put on hold due to the rationing of supplies such as rubber and helium and a moratorium on large public gatherings. After its brief hiatus, the Parade returned and grew in worldwide fame becoming even more synonymous with the holiday season after its starring role in the 1947 film classic, "Miracle on 34 th Street."

In celebration of this year's 90th march, Macy's will look back at the Parade's starring role as a generational hit with audiences via a heartwarming television commercial debuting in mid-November. Produced by Macy's and BBH NY, the spot, directed by Noam Murro, follows a young boy from his first Macy's Parade experience through to his 90th year, as the Parade plays a special role in his life. The touching story showcases how this world-famous, larger-than-life event has created long lasting personal connections with generations as it continues to bring families together in celebration. Featuring the Parade through the decades, the mini film tells the story of two old friends as it invites viewers to Believe! "Old Friends: A Tribute to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade" can be viewed on Macy's YouTube channel at YouTube.com/Macys.

AN OPENING TO REMEMBER

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