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TDitH's Favorite Macy's Thanksgiving Parade Floats

The time has arrived once again. Food, family, friends, and wine. Yes, Thanksgiving has come and so has the tradition of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. The sights and sounds of the parade are always welcomed. While the musicians, balloons, and musicals are all nice, the most interesting part is the floats, as many of them change each year. I've picked out three of my personal favorites to share. 

Santaland Express (1995)

For some reason trains and Christmas go hand in hand. But this one has some history behind it. Debuting in 1995, the Santaland Express is actually a train owned by Macy's that has been modified to be a float. It is also known as the Golden Eagle Express. 

Bands that have played on this float are Jimmy Fallon and The Roots and Mannheim Steam Roller.

In 2013 the float broke down due to the possibility of running out of gas or losing power. It was supposed to be behind the Adventure Time Finn and Jake balloon but managed to return after the On The Roll Again float.

I enjoy this float more for its history than the look of it. I still like the old style train look. But it is a real, retired train that was repurposed as a float in a well recognized parade, giving it new life for a time. 

Polar Express (2005)

The coming of the Parade usually means Christmas is right behind it. This float makes you well aware of that. In 2005 a float for the film was shown in the Parade to celebrate the first year that the film was released. It was also the twentieth anniversary of the book it was based on.

The float itself looked amazing, with great detail and a good use of forced perspective with the mountain looking further back and the train cars wrapped around it. Kids would also walk alongside the float as conductors. While the float retired after 2006, the costumes have been used with the Domino Sugar float.

Performers on the float were Brian McKnight and Natalie Grant. Both sang the song Believe, a song from the film originally sung by Josh Groban. However in 2006, the float was accompanied by the Florida Special Needs Color Guard.

Tom Turkey (1971)

Tom Turkey is the parade's oldest and most reoccurring float in the parade's history, as it has been a staple since 1971 (save for one missed appearance in the 77th parade, having been replaced that year by a balloon). The first incarnation of Tom Turkey was from 1971-1992. From 1993 to 2017 we saw the much larger second version, which has been revamped for the 2018 season to make him more mobile. Tom also got a Ballonicle in 2015 and 2016 in the parade.

I enjoy this float not only for the history, but for how animated it is. Not many floats have moving parts and they are usually simple movements when they do move. Tom moves his neck, eyes, wings, and head. It still impresses me to this day.

While there isn't much to say about Thanksgiving itself, the festivities are always something to remember, and the parade is as much a tradition in American Thanksgivings as the food. So raise a glass, give thanks, and from me to you all, have a great Thanksgiving. 

All I wish for you is to live life and live nostalgic. 


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OldSchool80s Posted on Nov 16, 2018 at 01:53 PM

The balloons are still my favorite probably because they bring back the memories from my childhood. They don't seem to show the balloons as long in favor of some of the musical performances and marching bands. I don't care for the awkward lip-synching all that much. Except that one time (not too long ago) when Rick Astley rick-rolled a performance interrupting with Never Gonna Give You Up live.

The Spider-Man balloon is definitely one of my favorites as well. Garfield stands out as well. That He-Man float is awesome!

Superman Posted on Nov 16, 2018 at 12:38 AM

Nice article. I enjoyed reading about your favorite floats, ThatDudeintheHoodie.

Hoju Koolander Posted on Nov 04, 2018 at 05:24 PM

I was always a sucker for the Spider-Man balloon, but that Masters of the Universe float is Pinnacle of of the art form I you ask me.

pikachulover Posted on Nov 02, 2018 at 08:15 PM

I remember in Reading Rainbow there is an episode where LeVar goes inside the Tom Turkey float.

Vaporman87 Posted on Nov 01, 2018 at 05:50 PM

I love the really elaborate floats, especially if they are themed around a classic live action or animated show. I recall a Masters of the Universe float (from '85 I think) that blew me away:

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