10 Fun Facts About The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloons in NYC

Membit is a new augmented reality app that gives you a way to share the past with the present and a way to share the present with the future. It’s now available from the AppStore. Try It : http://get.membit.co

This year is the 90th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. As we wrote last week, the first was originally intended to be a Christmas Parade started by European immigrants to show their new-found American pride. Today the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a New York tradition that is watched by over 45 million Americans all over the country. And whether you’re one of the millions lining the parade route in New York City or just tuning in from your kitchen, chances are you’re waiting to see what giant balloons are making an appearance this year.

With over 170 character balloons throughout the parade’s history, it’s these flying marvels of artistry and engineering that have made Macy’s the second biggest consumer of helium in America under the United States government.

And this Thanksgiving Untapped Cities has partnered with our friends at Membit to share some fun facts about these helium-filled parade staples. Post a picture of the parade to Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter with hashtags #MembitMe and #UntappedCities and Membit will pick the best 10 and turn them into membits so your pictures will become a part of Parade History. Or click here to download the app right now and make a membit yourself. All entries tagged #MembitMe and #UntappedCities will have a chance to win a $100 gift certificate to Macy’s.

1. There are Three Classes of Balloons at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade

jeff-koons-rabbit-balloon-2007Jeff Koons “Rabbit” balloon part of the Blue Sky Class of balloons designed to bring contemporary pieces of art to the Thanksgiving Day Parade. Source: Artnet News

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade features three balloon classes.

The Novelty Class: is the oldest class and contains smaller balloons managed by anywhere from one to 30 handlers. There is also a subclass of Novelty Balloons called Ballooncicles where balloon handlers ride bikes with the balloons attached to them. The smallest of the novelty balloons are designed to be worn over the heads of their handlers .

Full-Size Balloon Class: These are the balloons we all know and love. Today these balloons are handled by about 90 people and are usually licensed cartoon, video game or comic book characters.

The Blue Sky Class is the newest of the classes introduced in 2005 and conceptualized to take works of contemporary art and bring them to life as balloons. Examples of this class include Jeff Koon’s “Rabbit,” Keith Haring‘s “Figure with Heart” and Takashi Murakami’s “Kaikai and Kiki.”

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