Olive Oyl is a cartoon character created by E. C. Segar in 1919 for his comic strip Thimble Theatre. The strip was later renamed Popeye after the sailor character that became the most popular member of the cast; however, Olive Oyl was a main character for 10 years before Popeye's 1929 appearance.

History with the Macy's Parade

Olive Oyl made her Parade debut in the 1982 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and was the first-ever balloon of three to be made by Kemp Balloons, with the other two being Yogi Bear and Woody Woodpecker. This version got retired after 1985, and was slightly altered in 1986. Here, she would be given a refreshed paint job, alongside a 27-foot tall bouquet of balloons and her baby, Swee'Pea. The refurbished Olive balloon is the tallest in Parade's history, standing at a grand total of 102 feet tall. This balloon was officially retired after the 1986 Parade due to her left arm being torn, and as Olive and the rest of the Popeye gang have faded into obscurity, a new balloon version has yet to be made. Before the balloon was made, a Popeye balloon was made in 1957. The balloon was disposed of years later.

In addition, a costumed version of her has appeared in many Parades, such as in 1980, where she appeared on a float to promote the live-action Popeye movie. She would later appear in the 1996 Parade, alongside Popeye on the now-iconic Rocking Lobster float. Later, in 2001 and 2011 respectively, she would once again appear on floats celebrating the Parade's 75th and 85th Anniversaries.


  • In 1985, she left the parade route very early due to the heavy rain. She didn't even appear in the CBS telecast.
  • In 1986, her left arm was torn by a tree shortly before starting the parade because of the high winds, but her hand stayed on as it was connected to the balloon.


  • Olive is the First ever Female character balloon in the parade
  • Olive, the first Ronald McDonald, and Dudley the Dragon are the only giant balloons designed to be holding some balloons.
  • The redesigned version is the tallest balloon in the parade’s history, being 102 feet tall. She is also the earliest balloon to hold any balloons.

See also

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