Photograph by user b k, Flickr

 

Every year, months of giddy excitement and anticipation are put to purpose on Thanksgiving. Turkeys are carved, pies are gobbled, and gargantuan balloons fly high at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. In 1974, several Macy’s employees started the event by leading animals from Central Park Zoo.
 

  •        November 28, 2013
  •        Parade route near Central Park, New York
  •        9 a.m. to noon
  •        Free

 
Now the 2.5 mile march boasts all the glitz and glamor of 40-foot-tall floats, live performers, goofy clowns, and festive marching bands. Of course, there are the iconic balloons too, indiscriminately bobbing across the Manhattan skyline. Spectators are sure to catch iconic characters like Mickey Mouse and Snoopy, the character with the most balloons in history, smiling down on them from above.
 
But don’t confine all the excitement to one day. The balloon inflation is a dramatic event unto itself, taking place the day before at 3 p.m. Cherish memories of seeing the bubbly characters you know and love come to life before your eyes. Although internationally recognized as the official start to the holiday season, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is not the only source of awe in America’s Big Apple. See how the dinosaurs celebrated Thanksgiving at the American Museum of Natural History, Give thanks for your freedom in front of the Statue of Liberty, and just stroll through Central Park on a day when you aren’t distracted by all the baton twirling, trumpet blaring, and float parading of the most spectacular holiday celebration of the world.