Thanksgiving parade history

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The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, a cherished holiday tradition, has a rich history dating back to 1924. Originally, it was a Christmas parade organized by Macy's employees to celebrate the expansion of the Macy's store, which was then located about 20 blocks south on Sixth Avenue near 14th Street in New York City. The parade featured floats, bands, and animals from the zoo, attracting 10,000 onlookers. It started at 145th Street and concluded with Santa Claus and the unveiling of the store’s Christmas windows. Three years later, in 1927, the Christmas Parade was renamed the Thanksgiving Day Parade. The first parade had a circus-like vibe with live animals such as bears, elephants, camels, and monkeys from the Central Park Zoo. However, the animals were replaced by character balloons in the following years due to the animals' roars and growls frightening the children. The parade was first broadcast on the radio in 1932, allowing listeners to use their visual imagination to enjoy the event. It was first televised in 1946 in New York and then nationally on NBC the following year. The parade's route has changed over time. For many years, the parade’s Midtown route went right down Broadway, Manhattan’s spine. But in 2009, the route was moved to Seventh Avenue due to new pedestrian plazas along Broadway. The parade has been a platform for introducing well-known characters. Felix the Cat was there from the beginning, and Mickey Mouse joined in 1934. The "Peanuts" characters, especially Snoopy, made their first appearance in 1968. Despite being a Thanksgiving parade, it still concludes with Santa Claus, maintaining a connection to its Christmas parade origins. Over the years, the parade has grown to include intricate floats, celebrities, performances, and marching bands. It's worth noting that while the Macy's parade is a significant event, it was not the first Thanksgiving Day parade. The oldest Thanksgiving Day parade is Philadelphia's Gimbels Thanksgiving Day Parade, now known as the 6ABC - Dunkin’ Thanksgiving Day Parade, which debuted in 1920. The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade was only ever cancelled a few times, including three years during World War II and in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The parade first garnered national attention in 1947 with the release of the movie "Miracle on 34th Street".
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