What the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade has looked like since the first event in 1924

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What the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade has looked like since the first event in 1924
  • The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade used to be called the Christmas Parade.
  • It's been a hallmark of the holiday season since then, featuring celebrities and character balloons.
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1920s: Elephants marched in the first parade in 1924, which was previously known as the Macy's Christmas Parade.

1920s: Elephants marched in the first parade in 1924, which was previously known as the Macy's Christmas Parade.
The first parade in 1924.Macy's

The elephants wore outfits that advertised the parade.

1930s: Walt Disney helped design the first Mickey Mouse balloon.

1930s: Walt Disney helped design the first Mickey Mouse balloon.
Mickey Mouse.Macy's

The balloon handlers were also dressed as Mickey Mouse.

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1940s: The parade was canceled from 1942 to 1944 due to rubber and helium shortages during World War II, but it was back on for the rest of the '40s.

1940s: The parade was canceled from 1942 to 1944 due to rubber and helium shortages during World War II, but it was back on for the rest of the '40s.
Uncle Sam in the '40s.Macy's

An Uncle Sam float graced the streets of New York City in the 1940s.

1950s: The Radio City Rockettes have been perfectly aligned since their first performance at the parade in 1957.

1950s: The Radio City Rockettes have been perfectly aligned since their first performance at the parade in 1957.
The Rockettes in 1957.AP

The Rockettes were founded in 1925.

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1960s: Miss Teenage America 1961 Diane Lynn Cox rode a float in the parade.

1960s: Miss Teenage America 1961 Diane Lynn Cox rode a float in the parade.
Miss Teenage America 1961.Anthony Camerano/AP

She was accompanied by her "Prince Charming," actor Troy Donahue.

1970s: Kermit the Frog made his debut in 1977.

1970s: Kermit the Frog made his debut in 1977.
Kermit the Frog in 1977.Macy's

The balloon handlers were also dressed as Kermit, with green outfits and yellow collars.

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1980: The Sesame Street float followed a marching band.

1980: The Sesame Street float followed a marching band.
Sesame Street.Ken Howard/Getty Images

Sesame Street began airing in 1969.

1982: Woody Woodpecker flew high above Macy's.

1982: Woody Woodpecker flew high above Macy's.
Woody Woodpecker.Macy's

The Woody Woodpecker show aired between 1940 and 1972.

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1984: Raggedy Ann waved to onlookers.

1984: Raggedy Ann waved to onlookers.
Raggedy Anne in 1984.Macy's

Raggedy Ann was a character created by author and artist Johnny Gruelle in 1915.

1985: The Betty Boop balloon was 67 feet tall.

1985: The Betty Boop balloon was 67 feet tall.
Betty BoopMacy's

The ballon also held over 15,000 cubic feet of helium.

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1986: Olive Oyl and Swee' Pea were preceded by a group of clowns.

1986: Olive Oyl and Swee' Pea were preceded by a group of clowns.
Olive Oyl.AP

Olive Oyl and Swee' Pea were characters from "Popeye."

1988: The Pink Panther was on the case.

1988: The Pink Panther was on the case.
Pink Panther.Macy's

An elephant-shaped float with a Macy's logo preceded the Pink Panther balloon in the parade.

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1989: An estimated 1.8 million people attended the chilly parade.

1989: An estimated 1.8 million people attended the chilly parade.
Ronald McDonald.Tim Clary/AP

A Ronald McDonald-shaped balloon carried balloons of its own.

1990: Clifford the Big Red Dog lived up to his name.

1990: Clifford the Big Red Dog lived up to his name.
Clifford the Big Red Dog in 1990.Macy's

The first "Clifford" story was published in 1963 by Norman Bridwell.

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1991: Spider-Man made his first appearance at the parade.

1991: Spider-Man made his first appearance at the parade.
Spider-Man.Macy's

It was fitting for a Spider-Man balloon to fly over New York City, just as the character does in the comics and movies.

1992: Bart Simpson cruised through town on his skateboard.

1992: Bart Simpson cruised through town on his skateboard.
Bart Simpson in 1992.AP

"The Simpsons" remains the longest-running scripted sitcom in television history.

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1993: Members of "America Sings," a performing arts nonprofit organization for young amateur singers, belted out American classics.

1993: Members of "America Sings," a performing arts nonprofit organization for young amateur singers, belted out American classics.
"America Sings."Stringer/Getty Images

The singers wore red sweaters with white scarves as they waved American flags.

1994: The Cat in the Hat premiered as a new balloon in Times Square.

1994: The Cat in the Hat premiered as a new balloon in Times Square.
The Cat in the Hat.Stringer/Reuters

A billboard for the Tony Award-winning musical "Kiss of the Spider Woman" can be seen in the background.

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1995: "Beethoven" was big. Like, really big.

1995: "Beethoven" was big. Like, really big.
Beethoven.Jeff Christensen/Reuters

There are eight "Beethoven" movies in total.

1996: Betty Boop reappeared.

1996: Betty Boop reappeared.
Betty Boop.Jeff Christensen/Reuters

This time, she was sitting on a crescent moon.

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1997: Winds gusting up to 50 miles per hour caused many of the 17 balloons in the parade to rip and deflate.

1997: Winds gusting up to 50 miles per hour caused many of the 17 balloons in the parade to rip and deflate.
Pink Panther in 1997.Jeff Christensen/Reuters

One of the balloons blew into a lamppost, knocking it into the crowd and injuring two people, The New York Times reported in 1997.

1998: "Rugrats" were all the rage.

1998: "Rugrats" were all the rage.
"Rugrats" in 1998.AP

"Rugrats" characters Chuckie and Tommy rode their dog Spike in the 1998 parade.

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1999: Before "Googling" became a verb, internet search engine Ask Jeeves was the way to go.

1999: Before "Googling" became a verb, internet search engine Ask Jeeves was the way to go.
Ask Jeeves accompanied by Miss America in 1999.Jeff Christensen/Reuters

The Ask Jeeves float was accompanied by Miss America winner Heather French.

2001: The trauma of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center was still raw.

2001: The trauma of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center was still raw.
The parade post-9/11.Chris Hondros/Getty Images

Members of the New York City fire department carried an American flag.

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2002: Justin Guarini, the runner-up of season one of "American Idol," crooned a Christmas song.

2002: Justin Guarini, the runner-up of season one of "American Idol," crooned a Christmas song.
Justin Guarini of "American Idol" in 2002.Matthew Peyton/Getty Images

Guarini came in second to Kelly Clarkson on the show's first season.

2003: Simple Plan rocked out on the M&M float.

2003: Simple Plan rocked out on the M&M float.
Simple Plan in 2003.Matthew Peyton/Getty Images

Simple Plan released the singles "Addicted" and "Perfect" in 2003.

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2004: A news ticker shared stories about "Desperate Housewives" and the war in Iraq.

2004: A news ticker shared stories about "Desperate Housewives" and the war in Iraq.
Performers at the 2004 parade.Mario Tama/Getty Images

Performers followed the parade route on stilts and unicycles.

2005: The New York City Cheerleaders waved their pom-poms at the crowds.

2005: The New York City Cheerleaders waved their pom-poms at the crowds.
The New York City Cheerleaders in 2005.Stephen Chernin/Getty Images

A billboard for the Broadway musical "Chicago" can be seen in the background.

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2006: It rained on this parade. Poor Big Bird.

2006: It rained on this parade. Poor Big Bird.
The parade continued as usual despite the rain.Stephen Chernin/Getty Images

The Big Bird balloon sank to the ground due to inclement weather.

2007: Shrek floated above the city in all of his glory.

2007: Shrek floated above the city in all of his glory.
Shrek in 2007.Hiroko Masuike/Getty Images

The third "Shrek" movie came out in 2007.

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2008: Miley Cyrus was at the height of her Disney stardom.

2008: Miley Cyrus was at the height of her Disney stardom.
Miley Cyrus in 2008.Yana Paskova/Getty Images

Cyrus appeared on a float for the 2008 animated Disney movie "Bolt."

2009: Keke Palmer blew a kiss to adoring fans.

2009: Keke Palmer blew a kiss to adoring fans.
Keke Palmer in 2009.Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Palmer sang her song "Top of the World" on a Build-A-Bear float.

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2010: Miranda Cosgrove rode with the Minions from "Despicable Me."

2010: Miranda Cosgrove rode with the Minions from "Despicable Me."
Miranda Cosgrove in 2010.Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Cosgrove rode on a float with a model of the Statue of Liberty.

2011: Members of the NYPD marched through Times Square.

2011: Members of the NYPD marched through Times Square.
NYPD officers in 2011.Michael Nagle/Getty Images

Spider-Man followed closely in the background.

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2012: US Olympic gymnasts Kyla Ross, Aly Raisman, Jordyn Wieber, McKayla Maroney, and Gabby Douglas of the "Fierce Five" sported their gold medals from the London Olympics.

2012:  US Olympic gymnasts Kyla Ross, Aly Raisman, Jordyn Wieber, McKayla Maroney, and Gabby Douglas of the "Fierce Five" sported their gold medals from the London Olympics.
The Fierce Five in 2012.Desiree Navarro/Getty Images

A combined effort from Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman, Kyla Ross, and Jordyn Wieber led Team USA to gold in the team all-around for the first time in more than a decade.

2013: Despite the cold and concerns about the wind, the parade continued as planned.

2013: Despite the cold and concerns about the wind, the parade continued as planned.
It was a cold November.Kena Betancur/Getty Images

Despite the weather, the New York Daily News reported that 3.5 million people attended the event.

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2014: Spider-Man flew past Macy's.

2014: Spider-Man flew past Macy's.
Spider-Man in 2014.Brad Barket/Getty Images

In "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" (2014), the titular character was played by Andrew Garfield.

2015: A record number of police officers patrolled the parade in the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris.

2015: A record number of police officers patrolled the parade in the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris.
Pikachu floats through midtown in 2015.Kena Betancur/Getty Images

For the first time, the parade featured 200 officers from the NYPD Counterterrorism Bureau's Critical Response Command, The New York Times reported.

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2016: The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade celebrated 90 years.

2016: The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade celebrated 90 years.
A marching band assembles in the parade in 2016.Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

Marching band drums marked the parade's 90th year.

2017: The red Power Ranger balloon flew down the streets of New York.

2017: The red Power Ranger balloon flew down the streets of New York.
Saban's Mighty Morphin Power Ranger balloon in 2017.Noam Galai/Getty Images for Saban Brands

The balloon handlers wore matching red outfits.

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2018: SpongeBob Squarepants flew down the street sporting a Santa hat.

2018: SpongeBob Squarepants flew down the street sporting a Santa hat.
SpongeBob Squarepants in 2018.Atilgan Ozdil/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Perhaps Spongebob was paying tribute to the original "Christmas Parade."

2019: Balloons are being inflated and prepped at MetLife Stadium on November 2nd, gearing up for the big day.

2019: Balloons are being inflated and prepped at MetLife Stadium on November 2nd, gearing up for the big day.
Olaf in 2019.Ralph Bavaro/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

The second "Frozen" movie came out in 2019.

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2020: Santa and his elves wore face masks to the parade to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

2020: Santa and his elves wore face masks to the parade to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Santa Claus in 2020.Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Macy's Inc.

There were no live crowds at the event due to the pandemic.