The recent balloon of Buzz Lightyear

Since 2013, the balloons in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade have come in two varieties. The first (and older of the two) is the novelty balloon class, consisting of smaller balloons which range widely in size and are handled by between one and thirty people (some shaped like human heads that fit on the actual heads of the handlers). The second and more widely known is the full-size balloon class, primarily consisting of licensed pop-culture characters; each of these is handled by exactly 90 people. From 2005 to 2012, a third balloon class, the "Blue Sky Gallery," transformed the works of contemporary artists into full-size balloons.

Replacing the live animals that had been used in early Macy's Parades, balloons were introduced to the event in 1927 by Tony Sarg, a marionette maker from London who had moved to New York City to perform with his puppets on the street. Originally built by the Akron, Ohio-based Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, since 1984, balloons have been built by Sioux Falls, South Dakota-based Raven Industries' "Aerostar" division.

The following is a list of balloons that have, over the years, been featured in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, sorted by their first year in the lineup.

1930s introductions

1940s introductions

  • Hippo
  • Superman[5]
  • Football Player
  • Bobo the Hobo
  • Acrobat
  • Teddy Bear
  • Pumpkin
  • Ice Cream Cone
  • Baseball Player
  • Panda Bear
  • Pilgrim Father
  • Pirate
  • Police Officer
  • Elf Gnome
  • Fireman
  • Toy Soldier

1950s introductions

1960s introductions

1970s introductions

1980s introductions

1990s introductions

2000s introductions

2010s introductions

Blue Sky Gallery entries

  • "Humpty Dumpty" by Tom Otterness (2005-2006)
  • "Rabbit" by Jeff Koons (2007)
  • "Figure with Heart" by Keith Haring (2008)
  • "Kaikai and Kiki" by Takashi Murakami (2010)
  • "B" by Tim Burton (2011)
  • "Companion" by KAWS (2012)
  • "Little Cloud" by FriendsWithYou (2018)

See also


  1. Macy's has officially stated that Felix, the first character balloon in the parade, was introduced in 1927.
  2. A second balloon of Mickey appeared in 1972, and two additional versions were made in the 2000s, one portraying him as a bandleader and the other depicting him as a sailor.
  3. A second balloon of Donald was introduced in 1962.
  4. Longest balloon to ever appear in parade
  5. Superman's balloon was redesigned into the "Football Player" balloon in 1941. Superman later returned with a new balloon in 1966, then a third balloon of the character - one of the largest to ever appear in the parade- was used in the 1980s.
  6. The original Happy Dragon is the longest-lasting balloon ever to appear in the parade, with twenty-four appearances
  7. A second version of Bullwinkle's balloon, pairing him with his friend/sidekick Rocky, was used in the mid- and late 1990s.
  8. Snoopy has had more variants made than any other character, with seven in total. He first appeared as an aviator, then became an astronaut in 1969 to promote the Apollo 11 space program. In the 1980s, two versions of Snoopy were made: an "Ice Skating" version and a "Winter" version, the latter of which paired him with his buddy Woodstock. A fifth version was launched in 1999 to herald in the new millennium; this was given a minor alteration in 2001 to honor the parade's 75th anniversary. In 2007, a sixth Snoopy balloon was made, based on his "Flying Ace" alter ego. The most recent Snoopy balloon, again pairing him with Woodstock, was introduced in 2013.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 After the original was retired, a second balloon of the character was launched in the 2000s.
  10. Widest balloon in parade history
  11. Ronald has appeared in four versions since he was introduced to the parade. In his first, he was holding balloons; in his second, he was normal; in his third, he was wearing a scarf and ice skates, and in his fourth, he was wearing a tuxedo version of his usual costume.
  12. A second balloon of the character was made in 2011, based on a redesign introduced after the original balloon was retired.
  13. Three balloons have been made for the parade, one showing Pikachu flying, another with him chasing a PokeBall, and a third with him holding a Pikachu snowman
  14. 14.0 14.1 Originally appeared as a falloon in the 1990's