Tom Turkey at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Image Courtesy of Macys. Inc.

We recently covered 10 fun facts about the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons, such as the manufacturing process behind the scenes and some of the strange design choices. Now, read about the secrets of the parade itself, including facts about the parade’s history and what really goes on behind the senes of this spectacular annual event!

1. Parade floats are built in New Jersey and then folded up to travel through the Lincoln Tunnel

Inside the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Studio
MOONACHIE, NEW JERSEY – NOVEMBER 15: The Wondership by Wonder float is seen during 96th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade – Studio Day at Macy’s Parade Studio on November 15, 2022 in Moonachie, New Jersey. (Photo by Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Macy’s Inc.)

The magic of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade comes to life inside a giant warehouse in Moonachie, New Jersey. Dubbed the Macy’s Studio, the 72,000 square-foot workshop is where painters, carpenters, animators, sculptors, welders, electricians, engineers, and scenic and costume designers put in over 8,000 hours of labor to craft the floats and costumes that you’ll see on Thursday morning. According to Macy’s, quite a lot of materials go into crafting these giant floats including 2,000 gallons of paint, 300 pounds of glitter, and 200 pounds of confetti.

Once the floats are perfected, they’re partially disassembled and folded up to fit through the Lincon Tunnel on their way into Manhattan. Will Coss, Macy’s Parade Executive Producer, recently explained to ABC7 News that each float folds down a size of 12 feet by 8.5 feet, about the same size as a city bus. Once they arrive on Upper West Side, it can take 8 to 10 hours to unfold and reassemble the floats. The largest float is Santa’s sleigh which measures 60 feet long and 3.5 stories tall.