Tuesday, November 13, 2012

WEEKLY MUSE: The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

I can’t wait for Thanksgiving Day! First of all, I LOVE food, especially PUMPKIN PIE! Secondly, I LOVE spending time with my family! And thirdly, I LOVE watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!

Gobble! Gobble! Gobble! We’ve found another MUSE!

Since 1924, Macy’s Department Stores have ushered in the holiday season with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.

Herbert Straus (far left)
In 1924 Macy’s President, Herbert Straus, wanted to show gratitude to a community who had made Macy’s the world’s largest department store. He decided to give New York City a parade. It would start at 145th Street in Harlem and end at Harold Square at 34th Street in Manhattan.

The original route was six miles long, but the parade length itself was only two city blocks. This didn’t matter to New Yorkers at the time. Once the parade passed them, they trailed it all the way down to Macy’s original store at Harold Square. Some estimate that up to a million people viewed the parade that year.

Every year since, Macy’s has continued this tradition. Now, 3.5 million people line the streets of Manhattan to watch the parade, and 65 million people watch it on television.

But, why? What is all the fuss? I will tell you!

Today the parade is 2.5 miles of marching bands, lavishly animated floats, performers, clowns, and GIGANTIC BALLOONS!

And these GIGANTIC BALLOONS are what I consider the signature and main attraction of this spectacular parade. Balloon makers spend all year creating these monstrosities, and it isn’t easy work. Click here and take a look for yourself.  

These balloons are made in a studio in Hoboken, New Jersey, and all 40 of them are driven through the Lincoln Tunnel the night before. The Lincoln Tunnel is a tunnel that carries traffic under the Hudson River from New Jersey to New York City (Manhattan).

Balloon Inflation (Photo by: Kristine Paulus)
Over 300,000 people watch the inflation of the balloons the morning of the parade. Click here and watch this spectacle for yourself.

Hello Kitty, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Spiderman, Spongebob Squarepants, and Kermit the Frog are just a few of the GIGANTIC BALLOONS you will see at the 86th Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade on Thursday, November 22nd from 9am to Noon on NBC.

If you want to learn more about this SPECTACULAR event, click here to find the parade’s official website.

With this new knowledge, what kind of story could you write? Maybe these WHAT IF questions will help you get started.

WHAT IF all the balloons in the parade came to life?

WHAT IF the parade marched all the way across the country? How long would it take to get to Seattle?

WHAT IF your main character found out that somebody was planning to pop all of the balloons, and it is your main character’s mission to stop them?

The possibilities are endless, and please leave your own what if questions in the comment section below. I’d love to see what you come up with.

The Five New York City Boroughs
So, grab a cup of hot cocoa, a pencil and a piece of paper, and let’s begin. With your imagination, we can go anywhere. I look forward to seeing where you take us.

With Imagination,

Professor Watermelon

The word of the day is “Manhattan”. Here is the definition: Manhattan is one of five New York City boroughs. These boroughs operate like city’s within a city. Take a look at the map.


  1. Check out the book Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet!

    1. How could I have forgotten about that BOOK! Thanks, Nuria!

    2. A couple of years back, there was a Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade competition. There were several entries but the real competition was between 2 teams – the one on earth which was in New York City and the one on planet IWin. The judge was a cookie shop owner from planet IFair. Both teams put up an excellent parade. The judge looked at the number of people attending the parade, the length of the parade, the decorations and the number of giant balloons. ‘Earth wins by a very narrow margin,’ said the judge. The team from IWin didn’t agree with the decision so they came to earth and started fighting with the folks in Thanksgiving parade. People fought with people and balloons fought with balloons. The President saw what was happening on TV and said ‘This is crazy. The fighting has to stop.’ He made an announcement – ‘The aliens can have a special mention at the medal ceremony, state dinner at the White House and stay on earth if they promise to not destroy stuff and be nice.’ The aliens from planet IWin agreed and everyone lived happily after that.

      - Amar

  2. • What if people ran at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade?
    • What if it was a kicking parade instead of walking?
    • What if it was a flying parade?
    • What if it was a swimming parade?
    • What if it was a singing parade? And the most popular song was Gangnam Style?
    • What if it was a casual walking and not a marching parade?
    • What if it was a run around and play parade?
    • What if it was a smelly parade – with so many people?
    • What if it was only open to astronauts?
    • What if people ate and drank while they were in the parade?
    • What if the parade was in space?
    • What if it was a reading parade?
    • What if there was a parade at the same time in all countries?
    • What if it was a parade competition?
    • What if the parade went around the world and came back in exactly 1 year? We’ll have a parade going all the time.
    • What if instead of balloons they had floats in the parade?
    • What if they had animals join the parade?
    • What if it was a Christmas parade?
    • What if it was a New Years parade?
    • What if it was a Halloween parade? Like the one we had at CHA. Only with a lot more people.

    - Amar

  3. What if a Twix was in the parade?

    By Celeste B

  4. What if the balloons took over the parade?

    By Ethan B