An Ice Cream Cone is a dry, cone-shaped pastry, usually made of a wafer similar in texture to a waffle, which enables ice cream to be held in the hand and eaten without a bowl or spoon. Various types of ice cream cones include wafer (or cake) cones, waffle cones, and sugar cones.
Many styles of cones are made, including pretzel cones and chocolate-coated cones. A variety of double wafer cone exists that allows two scoops of ice cream to be served side by side. Wafer cones are sometimes made with a flat bottom instead of a pointed, conical shape, enabling the ice cream and "cone" to stand upright on a surface without support. These types of wafer cones are often branded as "cups".
A balloon representing a larger-than-life Ice Cream Cone has made appearances in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade since the mid-1940s and has since become one of the most often-recurring Parade elements.
History with the Macy's Parade
Triple-Scoop Ice Cream Cone
The first version of the Ice Cream Cone, then identified as a giant balloon, debuted in 1945, as one of five new balloons created by Goodyear after the second World War. The design features three scoops of three different flavored ice cream - strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate, respectively, piled high in an ice cream cone. Standing at 3 and a half stories tall, the first Ice Cream Cone balloon sweetened the Parade even more. The balloon would also appear in 1946, where it would be featured in the 1946 film, Miracle on 34th Street. The following year, in 1947, it would be flipped upside down and refurbished as The Goofy Gnome.
Macy's Ice Cream Cone
The following rendition of the Ice Cream Cone balloon wouldn't be produced until 1985, now identified as a novelty balloon, making it the first of its kind. The over-sized sweet treat lead that year's Parade alongside the even sweeter Lollipop balloons. This version of the Ice Cream Cone would appear one more time in 1986. By February of 1989, this version of the Ice Cream Cone was disposed of.
Strawberry/Pistachio Ice Cream Cone
In 1987, Macy's would debut its largest Ice Cream Cone balloon yet. The Parade lineup got its "just desserts", in the addition of a 35 by 22 Ice Cream Cone balloon. Weighing in at 26 pounds, 10 balloon handlers anchor the floating sweet master piece down the Parade route.
Over the next decade, the larger-than-life confection would become a Parade staple, and would lead the Parade, alongside the White Macy's Stars, every year until 1995, when the Ice Cream Cone was replaced by the newly-refurbished Cloe the Holiday Clown. The Ice Cream Cone balloon would once again lead the Parade in 1997 and 2000.
This version of the balloon would also make appearances outside the canyons of New York City. In 1992, it was one of few novelty balloons to appear at Macy's New York Christmas, an event that brought the magic of the Macy's Parade to the Walt Disney World Resort's Streets of America. Other novelties at this event included the Poinsettias and variants of the White Macy's Stars. The balloon would also appear in the 2001 and 2002 editions of Macy's Holiday Parade at Universal Orlando Resort.
This version of the Ice Cream Cone was retired after the 2003 Parade, making it one of the longest-running novelty balloons in the Parade's history. Despite its old age and frequent usage, it remains dormant in the float warehouse as of 2016 as the oldest novelty balloon to still exist.
A near-identical clone of the Ice Cream Cone was served for the first time in the 2003 Parade, now bearing a more vibrant color scheme. Like its previous incarnation, the Ice Cream Cone became a frequent flyer throughout the early 2000s. The balloon was temporarily retired after the 2006 Parade, but was re-instated to the line of march in the 2009 Parade, and would be permanently retired shortly after the 2011 Parade. This version of the Ice Cream Cone also remains fully intact in the Parade's float warehouse as of 2016.
Strawberry/Chocolate Ice Cream Cone
With the Parade's upcoming 80th anniversary in 2006, Macy's decided to put the Macy's Parade on the road, with a nation-wide tour called the Macy's Parade on Parade Tour. At this event, fans of the Parade could explore the history of the Parade through a custom-made trailer, learn the process of inflating a balloon, and learn the ropes -- literally -- of balloon handling. For the balloon handling portion of the event, a brand-new, Strawberry and Chocolate-flavored Ice Cream Cone balloon would be made. This balloon was used intermediately with the Happy Hippo balloon, depending on when it was being refurbished.
The balloon would make its first official Parade appearance in 2006, joining the then-current Strawberry and Pistachio ice cream cone. The balloon would take the place of the aforementioned ice cream cone in the 2007 Parade, only to be retired from the Parade shortly after.
The giant confection would also make appearances outside the concrete jungle. It appeared in the 2006 and 2007 edition of Macy's Holiday Parade, and, most recently, at a October 2009 test flight alongside Clifford the Big Red Dog. As of 2016, the balloon lays dormant in the float warehouse.
Ice Cream Cone
For the first time in over eight years, spectators lining the Parade route would scream "I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!', as a brand-new Ice Cream Cone balloon made its debut in the 2019 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
The 30-foot tall cone of ice-cold sweetness made its first public appearance at a June 2019 test flight, taking to the skies once again alongside Miss Petula Pig. That November, the iconic Ice Cream Cone would once again join the line of march, as it was guided down the Parade route by a fleet of 36 handlers, all dressed in ice cream-inspired apparel.
This Ice Cream Cone balloon made only one appearance in the 2019 Parade, and has yet to be seen again.
- In 1997, the bottom of the Ice Cream Cone was partially damaged after scraping on the pavement due to the strong winds that year, but the rest of the balloon remained intact. And knocked over a handler due to the strong winds, but the handler remained uninjured.
- In 2011, the Ice Cream Cone balloon was speared by a tree at 77th Street but was only slightly deflated.
- In 1945, the bottom of the cone was deflated along the route.
- In 2005, the balloon's cone was partially deflated, possibly due to the high winds.
- In 2019, one of the cherries on the pistachio scoop was deflated.