The Student News Site of Weber State University

The Signpost

The Signpost

The Signpost

The Signpost

OPINION: Flops and pops of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

A photo of the Jennie-O turkey float at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

In the early morning on the fourth Thursday of November, thousands of people will march through the streets of New York City in the second longest-running Thanksgiving Day parade. Some people will be on foot, some on floats and some will be tasked with carrying balloons that reach up to six stories high.

Thanksgiving is a holiday that has been celebrated annually for hundreds of years. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, however, is a tradition that spans just under a hundred years, with the first parade running in 1924.

Although the parade has been occurring for significantly less time than Thanksgiving itself has, it has quickly become one of the nation’s most cherished traditions. With nearly 30 million people watching every year. It’s safe to say that the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is now a staple of a tradition in countless households.

However, with so many people over so many years, there are bound to be some hiccups. The enormous helium-filled balloons have posed more than their fair share of problems throughout the years.

In light of Thanksgiving being just around the corner, Philip’s Law Group compiled a list of parade accidents from throughout the years. Here are a few of the most memorable flops.

Countless balloons have fallen victim to the city’s tall lampposts, one of the most unforgettable being Barney the dinosaur. However, in 1997, The Cat in the Hat balloon was torn on a lamppost as a result of high winds. The falling debris of the balloon fell on a bystander, leaving her with a fractured skull and a month-long coma.

It was this incident that caused size rules to be implemented for future parade balloons.

In 1993, the Sonic the Hedgehog balloon crashed into a lamppost in Columbus Circle and then into an off-duty officer. The ordeal left some with minor injuries. Needless to say, Sonic did not make a return to the Macy’s Day Parade until 2011.

In 2008, a balloon inspired by the art of Keith Haring struck the NBC Broadcast booth causing the broadcasters to be cut off the air until the balloon was cleared away.

The Superman balloon incident of 1986 steered from the usual lamppost casualties. The balloon got stuck on a tree causing Superman’s arm to tear off completely.

Popeye the Sailor Man left many bystanders shivering in 1957. The hat of the balloon featured an indentation, which soon became problematic when it began to rain. The top of the hat filled with water causing it to veer off course over a crowd of people dumping freezing cold rainwater on top of them.

Although there are already too many parade fails to count, they tend to be repetitive in nature; The ones listed above are the most unique. With the Macy’s Day Parade less than a week away we can only hope this year will not bring a new addition to the flops and pops the parade has seen throughout the years.

View Comments (1)
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Gracie Stephenson, Culture reporter

Comments (1)

Comments written below are solely the opinions of the author and does not reflect The Signpost staff or its affiliates.
All The Signpost Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • H

    HunterNov 22, 2023 at 11:56 am

    Man, that’s crazy. I didn’t realize there were so many injuries.