Thanksgiving is upon us, and millions of people across the U.S. will play their annual Turkey Bowl football game, indulge in the requisite post-dinner snooze, and wake for bright and early on Thanksgiving morning to watch the 91st annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.
The parade, which is the largest in the world, will kick off right next to Central Park at 77th street and Central Park West in midtown Manhattan and then trace its way down to Macy’s Herald Square, a route of about 2.5 miles—here are some other facts about the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade you’ll want to know. The whole affair is run by a giant retail conglomerate, so it may come as no surprise that in order to get a balloon in the procession, you have to pay a pretty penny.
For balloons making their debut in the parade, the cost is at least $190,000, a price which includes construction costs and a parade fee. For parade veterans, like Snoopy, the price point is a bit more favorable, running $90,000 each succeeding year. Considering that 50 million people watch the parade on television and 3.5 million people come out to watch in person, that sum isn’t all that bad.
In order to keep all the balloons wrangled, Macy’s uses over 2,000 volunteer “balloon handlers” on parade day, with about 90 used per balloon. When it comes to the floats, things are a bit more controlled and require a bit less manpower, with 400 float escorts guiding the festive land barges.
So as you’re sitting on your couch with your family, eating croissants like you do every year, be thankful that you aren’t wrangling a giant balloon in the cold. (And be thankful for these other 50 things, while you’re at it.)
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