Vintage Photos Of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parades Past

Check out the balloons, floats, performers and presenters from this holiday tradition dating back to 1924.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a time-honored tradition dating back to 1924.

In 2020, the parade will still march on, but with some modifications. Organizers have announced that there will be a shorter route, fewer participants (and mostly from the New York area), a combination of live and prerecorded elements and other measures in keeping with social distancing guidelines.

“Under the unique challenges of these unparalleled times, we felt it was important to continue this cherished holiday tradition that has been the opening act to the holiday season for generations of families,” Susan Tercero, executive producer of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, said in a statement.

Although the parade may look a bit different, many classic elements will remain. In honor of Thanksgiving week, we’ve rounded up 45 vintage photos of the parade from years past. Keep scrolling for some epic throwback balloons, performers, presenters and more.

1924
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Elephants in the first Macy’s Parade, then called Macy’s Christmas Parade
1924
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First-ever Santa float in the then-Macy’s Christmas Parade
1924
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Little Miss Muffet float
1926
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Balloonatics float, which inspired the creation of the character balloons
1927
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Felix the Cat, the first-ever giant character balloon at the Macy’s Parade
1927
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Happy Dragon, the second giant balloon in the Macy’s Parade
1929
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Daschund balloon released after the conclusion of the parade
Late 1920s
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The 35-foot Fish Balloon and 60-foot Tiger Balloon as the parade neared its end on Broadway
1931
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The 287-foot dragon balloon held by 29 men
1933
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Gulliver The Gullible passing 98th Street and Broadway
1934
Courtesy of Macy's
Eddie Cantor, the first balloon based on a real person
1934
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The first Mickey Mouse balloon, designed with the help of Walt Disney
1937
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Sea serpent balloon on Broadway and 56th St.
1939
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Tin-Man from the "Wizard of Oz," viewed from the sixth story of a Times Square building
1940s
Courtesy of Macy's
Uncle Sam balloon amid World War II
Early 1940s
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Balloon handlers holding the ropes of a clown balloon in preparation for the parade
1941
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Santa Claus balloon buckling after losing helium around 106th St.
1946
Courtesy of Macy's
Edmund Gwenn as Santa Claus during the filming of the movie "Miracle on 34th Street"
1946
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Harold the Baseball Player
1947
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Macy’s Elf balloon
1949
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A clown greeting kids along Central Park West
1950s
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Broadway Belle Showboat
1954
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Giant spaceman balloon at 34th St.
1956
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The Mighty Mouse balloon deflating at Columbus Circle
1957
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A line of skaters rolling down Broadway
1958
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Film star Ginger Rogers waving from the flower float
1960s
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Peanuts float
1961
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A parade float advertising the Broadway musical "Let It Ride"
1964
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The traditional Rockettes performance
1966
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Macy's employees dressed as clowns, a tradition that has persisted to the present day
1966
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Workers filling Superman with helium for the parade
1967
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Betty White and Lorne Greene, who hosted the parade every year from 1963 to 1972
1968
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"Star Trek" star William Shatner with soapbox derby members on a float
1968
Courtesy of Macy's
Flying Ace Snoopy, the first ever Snoopy Balloon
1970s
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Tom Turkey float, the oldest in the Parade
1970
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Clown heads
1974
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Spectators viewing the parade
1977
Courtesy of Macy's
Kermit the Frog float
1978
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The first ever "Sesame Street" float
1980s
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Strawberry Shortcake float
1981
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Toy Caterpillar float
1983
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Olive Oyl balloon
1986
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Ronald McDonald balloon
1995
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Rapper LL Cool J rides a float with a number of young men in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
1996
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A Betty Boop float