Employees, friends, and families of Macy's sponsored the store's
first annual Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City in 1924. The
Gimbel Brothers Department Store in Philadelphia sponsored the first
such parade in 1920 when fifteen cars, fifty people, and a fireman
dressed as Santa Claus paraded through the streets (and concluded
when Santa scaled a ladder into Gimbel's toy department). The Macy's
Thanksgiving Day parade, however, became the standard that commemorated
the official start of the Christmas shopping season.
In 1927, puppeteer Tony Sarg created the first giant balloons
for the Macy's parade. The event was later featured in films such
as A Miracle on 34th Street (1947). Each year, millions
of people line New York City's streets during the parade while
millions more tune into national television coverage.