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Buzz

The balloon of Buzz Lightyear

Since 1985, the balloons in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade have come in two varieties. The first and more widely known is the full-size balloon class, primarily consisting of licensed pop-culture characters; each of these is handled by 90 people on average. The second (and newer of the two) is the novelty balloon class, consisting of smaller balloons that range widely in size and are handled by between one and thirty people. Since 2005, a third balloon class, the "Blue Sky Gallery," transforms the works of contemporary artists into full-size balloons. Other balloon-based spinoffs include balloonicles, trycaloons, and falloons.

Replacing the live animals that had been used in early Macy's Parades, balloons were introduced to the event in 1928 by Tony Sarg, a marionette maker from London who had moved to New York City to perform with his puppets on the street. Initially built by the Akron, Ohio-based Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, then by Kemp Balloons from 1981 to 1983, from 1984 to 2019, the balloons have been built by Sioux Falls, South Dakota-based Raven Industries' "Aerostar" division. In 1990, Macy's collaborated with Bigger than Life to produce the Bart Simpson balloon, making it the only time since 1984 that Macy's collaborated with another company to create a giant character balloon.

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.

1920s introductions

1928

1929

1930s introductions

1930

1931

1932

1933

1934

1935

1936

1937

1938

1939

1940s introductions

1940

1941

1945

1946

1947

1948

1949

1950s introductions

1950

1951

1952

1953

1954

1956

1957

  • Popeye by King Features Syndicate

1960s introductions

1960

1961

1962

1963

1964

1965

1966

  • Superman (2nd version) by National Periodical Publications
  • Smokey Bear (1st version) by General Electric Company

1968

1969

1970s introductions

1971

1975

1977

1980s introductions

1980

1982

1983

1984

1985

1986

1987

1988

1989

1990s introductions

1990

1991

  • Babar by Nelvana Limited and the Clifford Ross Company

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000s introductions

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010s introductions

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

  • Olaf by Walt Disney Animation Studios
  • Jett by Alpha Group
  • Chase by Spin Master LTD
  • The Grinch by Illumination Animation

2018

2019

2020s Introductions

2020

TBA in June or July 2020!

Novelty Balloons

Below, you will find all of the Novelty Balloons that have appeared in the Parade, dating back to their introduction in 1985.

Blue Sky Gallery entries

See also

Notes

  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. Originally appeared as a falloon in the 1990's
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