Few holiday traditions in New York City have a history as lengthy as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Originally launched in 1924 as the Christmas Parade, the spectacle has brought clowns, oversized balloons, Broadway performers, and Kris Kringle himself to the west side of Manhattan in the nine decades since.
The parade will officially celebrate its 92nd anniversary in 2018—it took a couple of years off during World War II—and Macy’s is going all out, with more balloons and floats (including a few new ones) than ever before.
But it’s always fun to take a look back at how these traditions have evolved, isn’t it? Take a look at some of the floats that have made the trek from the Upper West Side to Midtown, from Santa’s first jaunt in 1924 to the technologically-advanced floats of today.
↑ The very first Santa Claus float, from the very first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (then known as the Christmas Parade) in 1924.
↑ Another float from the first parade in 1924 depicted Miss Muffet and, of course, her tuffet.
↑ This Balloonatics float from the 1926 parade inspired the enormous balloon characters that have become an indelible part of the festivities.
↑ This rather creepy Tin Man float (with seemingly no relation to The Wizard of Oz) is from the 1940s.
↑ Actor Edmund Gwenn, who played Kris Kringle in holiday classic Miracle on 34th Street, is shown here during filming for that movie in 1946.
↑ Theater stars appear on a Broadway Belle float during the 1950s.
↑ How Charlie Brown has changed: this Peanuts float appeared in the 1960s.
↑ The first Sesame Street float, featuring characters like Big Bird and Bert & Ernie, appeared in 1978.
↑ A Strawberry Shortcake float from the 1980s.
↑ Jumping forward to the aughts, this Lego float appeared in 2002.
↑ Now on to the current floats: This New York City-themed one is sponsored by The New York Daily News, and features icons like the Empire State Building.
↑ And here’s Santa Claus in his current iteration—which is no less magical than he was 92 years ago.