Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Wiki
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Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Wiki

Happy Hippo is a classic novelty balloon from the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

History with the Macy's Parade

The original Hippopotamus balloon first appeared in the 1940 Parade and carried the tradition of generic animal balloons appearing in the parade at the time. The design was very basic, with the hippo bearing a toothy grin, and sporting a color scheme of green with red polka-dots. Additionally, the balloon featured a flower-like ceinture, which wrapped around the balloon's body. The balloon was retired after the 1941 Parade making only two appearances, and it's very likely that it was taken apart and donated to the U.S. military as part of the 650 pounds of rubber for The Second World War alongside many other balloons from that time.

60 years after the original balloon was retired, and to help celebrate the Parade's 75th Anniversary, Macy's recreated many of their classic balloons in the form of novelty balloons, with one being Happy Hippo. This version was nearly identical to the previous version, with the exception of the hippo being pink with magenta polka-dots, and was supposedly a female, judging by the hippo's eyelashes. In 2006, the balloon was featured in the Macy's Parade on Parade Tour, where guests could learn the ropes -- literally -- of handling balloons in the parade. Two balloons were used for this event, the Chocolate and Strawberry Ice Cream Cone and the second Happy Hippo balloon. The two balloons would be switched out between locations as the other was being given any necessary repairs. The balloon made its final appearance in the 2006 Parade.

Happy Hippo would later reappear in the 2013 Parade in the form of a brand-new balloon, to help promote that year's Macy's Holiday Parade at Universal Orlando Resort. This balloon once again features a different color scheme, with it being purple and eliminating the polka-dots altogether. This balloon also featured a bow decorated with Christmas holly, instead of the flower ceinture. This balloon was retired from the main Parade after the event, but it returned in The 2015 Parade and The 90th Anniversary Parade until it was retired after the latter procession. It made appearances in the Macy's Holiday Parade until 2016, where the balloon would be used as a pre-parade performance.

The Happy Hippo balloon would have returned in the 2021 Parade.

Trivia

  • In a series of CGI-animated shorts released in preparation for the 2013 Parade, Happy Hippo was given the name, "Matilda".
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