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Tom Turkey is the oldest, most recurring, and most famous float in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and it's unofficial mascot. Tom is an animatronic Thanksgiving turkey who has two people dressed as pilgrims riding on top of him and is also surrounded by actors dressed as pilgrims. He is controlled by a series of cables, levers, and pulleys.

History with the Macy's Parade

Tom Turkey was introduced to the parade in 1973, under the name "Toy Turkey". This version of the float had much lighter colors than the current version, and was decorated with over-sized pumpkins and hay bales. Occasionally, this version of the float would carry a sign on the front which read "Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade", a feature which would once again be used in the 2018 version of the float. This version of the float was retired after the 1992 Parade.

A second, bigger version first appeared in 1993. This version of Tom was given a refreshed paint job, with more fall and autumn-like colors. This float appeared in every parade since his debut until 2017, except the 77th (in 2003), when he took a "Thanksgiving Off" and was replaced by Macy's "Gorgeous Gobbler" novelty balloon. He generally leads the parade as the first float, bookending the spectacle together with Santa Claus, whose arrival into Herald Square traditionally ends the event. 

In 2018, a brand-new, more updated, version of Tom Turkey debuted. This version of the float is the first self-propelled float in the Parade's history. Alongside Tom, the Parade's logo will be featured at the front. The float will be escorted by cheerleaders and showgirls.

In addition to being a float, Tom Turkey was also given a Balloonicle version for the Macy's Holiday Parade, which appeared in 2015 and 2016, leading the parade, just like his float counterpart. This Balloonicle was later used as a cold-air decoration for a marquee on Macy's Herald Square for the 2017 and 2018 parades.

Performers

Below, you will find a list of every performer/celebrity that has performed/appeared on the float.

Tom Turkey v.1

  • 1973 - George Jones & Tammy Wynette
  • 1975 - Dolly Parton
  • 1976 - ?????
  • 1977 - Mel Tillis
  • 1978 - The Oakridge Boys
  • 1979 - Mickey Rooney
  • 1980 - Sister Sledge
  • 1981 - Donny Osmond
  • 1982 - Keith Carradine
  • 1983 - Charley Pride
  • 1984 - Dionnie Warwick
  • 1985 - Janie Fricke
  • 1986 - Crystal Gayle
  • 1987 - Rita Coolidge
  • 1988 - Tanya Trucker
  • 1989 - Clint Black
  • 1990 - Garth and Sandy Brooks
  • 1991 - Charlie Daniels
  • 1992 - Mac Davis

Tom Turkey v.2

  • 1994 - Sheri Lewis
  • 1995 - Shania Twain
  • 1996 - Bo Diddley
  • 1997 - Sheri Lewis & Charlie Horse
  • 1998 - Martina McBride
  • 1999 - Susan Lucci
  • 2000 - The Corrs
  • 2001 - Willard Scott
  • 2004 - Julie Roberts
  • 2005 -
  • 2006 -
  • 2007 -
  • 2008 -
  • 2009 - ???
  • 2010 - Eric Hutchinson
  • 2011 - Avril Lavinge
  • 2012 - Geoffrey Zakarian
  • 2013 - Sandra Lee
  • 2014 - Sandra Lee
  • 2015 - Sandra Lee
  • 2016 - Sandra Lee
  • 2017 - Padma Lakshmi & Tom Colicchio