Here’s what the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade looked like through the years

Kermit the Frog made his debut in the '70s.

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Kermit the Frog made his debut in the ’70s.
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Macy’s
  • The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade used to be called the Christmas Parade.
  • It was cancelled from 1942 to 1944 because of World War II.
  • It’s been a hallmark of the holiday season since then, featuring celebrities, balloons, and marching bands from around the country.
  • The parade floats and performers through the years reflect different periods in American culture.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will march through New York City for the 93rd time this November. Aside from a brief hiatus during World War II when helium and rubber were in short supply, it has been a hallmark of the holiday season since the first parade on Christmas in 1924.

Featuring celebrities, marching bands, clowns, and balloons shaped like cartoon and movie characters, the massive event has been televised since 1952. Grandparents and grandchildren alike share fond memories of watching the spectacle, and the floats and performers through the years reflect different periods in American culture.

Here’s what the parade looked like in its early days and every year since 1980, and make sure to watch the parade on November 28th!


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

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The first parade in 1924.
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1930s: Walt Disney helped design the first Mickey Mouse balloon.

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Mickey Mouse in 1934.
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1940s: The parade was canceled from 1942 to 1944 due to rubber and helium shortages during World War II, but was back on for the rest of the ’40s.

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Uncle Sam in the ’40s.
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1950s: The Radio City Rockettes have been perfectly aligned since their first performance at the parade in 1957.


1960s: Miss Teenage America 1961 Diane Lynn Cox rode a float with her “Prince Charming,” actor Troy Donahue.


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

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Kermit the Frog in 1977.
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Macy’s

1980: The Sesame Street float followed a marching band.

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Sesame Street.
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Ken Howard/Getty Images

1981: Charles Haid and Michael Warren of the TV series “Hill Street Blues” performed a song and dance number.

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Hill Street Blues.
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YouTube

1982: Woody Woodpecker flew high above Macy’s.

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Woody Woodpecker.
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1983: Purina dog food sponsored a loveably shaggy canine float.

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Purina’s parade float.
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YouTube

1984: Raggedy Anne waved to onlookers.

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Raggedy Anne in 1984.
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1985: The Betty Boop balloon was 67 feet tall and held over 15,000 cubic feet of helium.

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Betty Boop.
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1986: Olive Oyl and Swee’ Pea were preceded by a group of clowns.


1987: Actress Saundra Santiago sang “America the Beautiful.”

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Saundra Santiago.
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YouTube

1988: The Pink Panther was on the case.

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Pink Panther.
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Macy’s

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


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

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

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Spider-Man.
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1992: Bart Simpson cruised through town on his skateboard.


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

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“America Sings.”
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Stringer/Getty Images

1994: The Cat in the Hat premiered as a new balloon in Times Square, where “Kiss of the Spider Woman” was Broadway’s big hit.

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The Cat in the Hat.
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Stringer/Reuters

1995: “Beethoven” was big. Like, really big.

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Beethoven.
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Jeff Christensen/Reuters

1996: Betty Boop reappeared.

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Betty Boop.
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Jeff Christensen/Reuters

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

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Pink Panther.
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Jeff Christensen/Reuters

1998: “Rugrats” were all the rage.


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

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Ask Jeeves accompanied by Miss America.
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Jeff Christensen/Reuters

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

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The parade post-9/11.
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Chris Hondros/Getty Images

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

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Justin Guarini of “American Idol.”
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Matthew Peyton/Getty Images

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

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Simple Plan.
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Matthew Peyton/Getty Images

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

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The news in 2004.
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Mario Tama/Getty Images

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

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The New York City Cheerleaders.
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Stephen Chernin/Getty Images

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

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The parade continued as usual despite the rain.
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Stephen Chernin/Getty Images

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

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Shrek.
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Hiroko Masuike/Getty Images

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

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Miley Cyrus.
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Yana Paskova/Getty Images

2009: Keke Palmer blew a kiss to adoring fans.

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Keke Palmer.
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Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

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

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Miranda Cosgrove.
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Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

2011: Members of the NYPD marched through Times Square.

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NYPD.
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Michael Nagle/Getty Images

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.

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The Fierce Five.
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Desiree Navarro/Getty Images

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

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It was a cold November.
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Kena Betancur/Getty Images

2014: In “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” the titular character was played by Andrew Garfield.

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Spider-Man.
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Brad Barket/Getty Images

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

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Pikachu floats through midtown.
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Kena Betancur/Getty Images

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

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A marching band assembles in the parade.
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Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

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

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Saban’s Mighty Morphin Power Ranger balloon.
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Noam Galai/Getty Images for Saban Brands

2018: SpongeBob flew down the street sporting a Santa hat, maybe paying ode to the original ‘Christmas Parade.’

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Atilgan Ozdil/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

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

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Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Macy’s Inc