A Visual History of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Giant balloons made their debut in 1927. The floats featured contemporary characters and cartoonish creatures and were filled with helium. Notably, the organizers released the balloons and let them float above the city as part of the parade's grand finale; however, they did not anticipate that the balloons would burst soon after clearing the skyline. In this photo, a sea-serpent balloon descends upon crowds on Broadway and 56th Street during the 1937 parade.