11. Famous artists have designed Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons

Rabbit Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon by Jeff Koons
Rabbit by Jeff Koons 2007 – 2nd Blue Sky Gallery Series Balloon. Photo courtesy Macy’s. 

In 2011, the famous director Tim Burton designed a balloon featured in the parade that truly reflected the macabre creativity evident in his films. The balloon, called “B. Boy,” had a rather gruesome backstory. B.Boy was put together from rejected birthday party balloons left over from children’s parties at a hospital. Since he wasn’t allowed to play with other children, he went to his basement home and delved into the world of his favorite film called The Red Balloon. Like the character in the film, he hoped that he’d be able to fly high and bring joy to a small child. B. Boy received a lot of attention on social media.

At the 2019 balloon inflation, we ran into Macy’s Balloon Technician Alan Gallagher, a.k.a. Moose, who was holding a 3D-printed model of a balloon designed by Yayoi Kusama balloon titled Love Flies Up to the Sky as the real balloon was being inflated right in front of us. The 3D models are used to make the pattern for the full-size balloon. Each balloon is made up of several different pieces and chambers. Kusama is one of a long list of famous artists who have created balloons for the parade. Keith Haring had a posthumous balloon created in his honor, Tom Otterness designed a Humpty Dumpty balloon, and Jeff Koons created a metallic rabbit. Other artists who designed balloons include Takashi Murakami, KAWS, and more.