With the Thanksgiving day holiday fast approaching, TODAY compiled a slide show of pictures through the years of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parades. Beginning in 1924, this Thanksgiving tradition has seen many changes in the characters of the balloons but one thing has stayed consistent, Santa Claus concludes the parade. Here are a few pictures from the gallery.
A large outdoor float of Captain Nemo makes its way down the street during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City on Nov. 28, 1929. Early balloons like this one were filled with air and carried by string. Starting in 1929 the balloons were released at the parade’s end and rewards were offered for their return, but the practice was discontinued after 1932, when a pilot nearly crashed his plane trying to retrieve one.
This was the scene in Times Square in New York during the parade on Nov. 23, 1945. It was the first parade since the festivities were suspended in 1941 due to World War II. Here, the Teddy Bear passes a reproduction of the Statue of Liberty.
This shot of the Macy’s Parade from the early 1960s spotlights Popeye, still in his heyday. The spinach-chomping sailor man had made his parade debut a few years earlier, in 1957.
Bullwinkle the moose floats above the Macy’s parade in the early 1960s, when he costarred in TV cartoons with Rocky the Flying Squirrel.
The pizza-gobbling cartoon cat floats above a marching band on Broadway on Nov. 27, 1986. The Choctawhatchee High School band of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., march behind him.
The Nov. 25, 1993 Macy’s Parade was plagued by freezing temperatures and blustery winds that burst several of the balloons. One casualty was Rex, the tyrannosaurus hero of the children’s book “We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story.”
The Nov. 25, 1999 parade brought the debut of Millennium Snoopy, the fifth version of Charlie Brown’s beagle to star in the festivities. In front of Snoopy is Cloe the Clown, a historic Macy’s float regarded as the patron spirit of clowns.
The Uncle Sam balloon leads off the parade on Nov. 28, 2002. The balloon is a re-creation of a patriotic one that first appeared in 1938 and continued through the 1940s.
The web-spinning superhero debuted as a giant helium balloon in 1987, then returned in 2009 and, as shown here, the following year. In 2011, he will also be represented by the cast of the Broadway musical “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.”