A Closer Look at the Balloon Magic of the Thanksgiving Day Parade

As Macy’s Associates, we can feel great pride about the Thanksgiving Day Parade. Since the historic first march in 1924, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has been an epic celebration and a signature of our company brand. Every year, the parade captivates millions of viewers and makes unforgettable memories during the holiday season.

Last week on Beyond the Boardroom with Jeff Gennette, we met the team behind the magic at Macy’s Parade Studio in Moonachie, New Jersey. These Associates displayed the work they do year-round to build and design floats, balloons and costumes. They shared details about the balloon inflation process, and even revealed the floats they are most looking forward to seeing this year. Countless artists, designers, craftsmen and carpenters come together with a passion to make the Parade possible. Now we’re taking a closer look at a very unique balloon, Harold the Baseball Player, and a very special float, the Macy’s Singing Christmas Tree Choir.

One of the balloons we can look forward to seeing this year is 30-foot tall “Harold the Baseball Player.” Harold is a balloon that hasn’t been seen in the parade for more than 70 years, although he was featured in a famous film. Instead of being painted in color like other balloons, Harold is black and white, paying homage to the 1947 classic black-and-white film Miracle on 34th Street. Harold can be spotted in the movie, floating in the background as the main characters watch the parade from their apartment window. Learn more about the history behind this special balloon, the unique design process, and what Jordan Dabby, Macy’s VP of partnership marketing for Macy’s Branded Entertainment, and John Piper, VP of Macy’s Parade Studio, had to say in this heartwarming feature on Harold on mashable.com.

The Macy’s Singing Christmas Tree Choir is a unique float that will debut in this year’s parade. We’ve covered the story behind this float on Coast to Coast before, but now we’re sharing some interviews with the actual Associates who were selected to be in the choir! Hear from them why this iconic event epitomizes our company promise to make life shine brighter.

Candace Bryant, Administrator II Agent Experience, Macy’s Credit & Customer Services, 1 year and 8 months with Macy’s

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has always been a part of my family’s holiday tradition. As a little girl, I would sit in front of the television and imagine myself front and center in the parade, performing on a float and waving at the crowd. As I got older the tradition continued. My mom would call me Thanksgiving morning and even before wishing me, “Good morning” or “Happy Thanksgiving” she would say, “Candy, the parade is on! Are you watching it?” Now with children of my own the tradition lives on. Being a part of the Macy’s Singing Christmas Tree Choir is a dream that has blossomed into my reality. This opportunity unveils the limitless possibilities that are before us. If you can believe it, then you can achieve it! No dream is too big – that’s what the Parade means to me. I am excited to share Thanksgiving with the world this year through my gift of singing while spreading holiday cheer.

Traci Curry, District HR Director, Macy’s North Carolina/South Virginia District, 23 years with Macy’s

When I was a little girl, this parade was a tradition for my family. We gathered together and while cooking breakfast, we would watch the parade together. It brought joy and wonder to the day and truly brought us together as a family. As a little girl, I always wanted to be a Rockette, but the opportunity to see them perform during the parade in person was not something I got to experience as a child. All these years later, with this opportunity, I will get to see them! The chance to be a part of this is a blessing. I’m so thankful and I know that my father and sister will be there with me, even though they passed away years ago. I will always be so grateful for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity

Roberson Keffer, VP Fashion Director, Home Division, 9 years with Macy’s

I love being a part of Macy’s and having the opportunity to help men and women all across the country – no matter where they live or their economic levels – and to make their lives shine just a little brighter. I love knowing that the products I help to create might be used for a family’s Thanksgiving dinner and will be a backdrop for making memories. For the past two years, my entire family has flown to New York City just to be in the parade. It was a lifelong dream of my father and it was incredible to experience it with him. This year I get to participate in a completely different way and I am so excited to be a part of it!

Vicki Smith, Fine Jewelry Captain, 27 years with Macy’s

When I first began working at Macy’s, I started my family, and grew into the Macy’s family at the same time. When you spend more than a quarter of a century with Macy’s, it automatically becomes part of the fabric of your being. I attended college as a vocal performance major, but when I got married I took some time off from music. It’s now been 27 years, so I decided it was time to start singing again! Plus, I sing around my department and my co-workers urged me to audition. I can’t wait to be the first on a brand new Macy’s float!

If you didn’t check out the most recent episode of Beyond the Boardroom with Jeff Gennette, here’s your chance to watch the magic behind-the-scenes of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with our Parade Studio team in Moonachie, New Jersey.


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