The Observer (Also known as the Observation balloon) is a vintage Macy's balloon that is a replica of a Civil War observation balloon.

History With The Macy's Parade

The Observer balloon made its Macy's Parade debut in 1956. It was originally planned to have a man ride in the basket of the Observer balloon, but this was ruled out as not safe by the New York Police Department. As such, this concept was replaced by a large stuffed monkey doll. However, high winds have caused the balloon to deflate in an accident, resulting in the balloon to be removed from that year's Parade. Despite this incident, the Observer balloon made its proper debut in 1957, but after that, it was retired. After a two-year hiatus, the balloon returned in 1960, but was retired the following year in 1961, and was recycled into The Flying Trapeze balloon a year later. It will most likely never return due to the infamy of the Civil War.


  • In 1956, when it made its parade debut, the Observer was deflated by a lamppost at 62nd Street and was removed alongside Gorgeous Gobbler and Mighty Mouse.
  • In 1957, the balloon almost hit a lamppost and a TV truck. Despite this, the balloon was partially deflated along the parade route.


  • The Observer was originally going to be in the 1959 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, but was scrapped at the last minute for unknown reasons.
  • Although the idea of someone to ride in the balloon was scrapped, it was restored in the balloon called 80th Anniversary Hot Air Balloon in 2006, and then, in the The Wizard of Oz balloon in 2013.


Gallery: Observer

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