Excitement about the NYC Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade begins Thanksgiving Eve with the giant balloons inflation. Inflation has become part of the parade’s tradition drawing locals and tourists from all over. The inflation event takes place on the American Museum of Natural History grounds between 3:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m.

While still crowded, you’ll find this event is less crowded than the parade itself. The balloons are enormous, ranging from 50 feet long to 40 feet wide. The streets where the inflation occurs begins at 79th and Columbus and spreads out along Columbus Avenue, 77th Street, Central Park South and 81st Streets.


About the Giant Balloons

The parade’s giant balloons are the greatest spectacle of all. In 1927 (three years after the first parade) the first giant balloons became a popular attraction — a dinosaur 60 feet long and a 25-foot dachshund accompanied by enormous turkeys, chickens and ducks. Felix the Cat also made his debut. Parades were suspended from 1942 to 1944 during WWII, but the tradition held strong, and the parade now includes more than 170 characters balloons – making it a one of a kind. Mickey Mouse first appeared in 1934. Snoopy from Peanuts takes the honor of the most used character, and 2016 will be his 40th parade appearance.


Macy’s balloon designers, coined “balloonatics” create all the balloons. They begin work a year ahead of time, starting with pencil sketches and working out the aerodynamics and required engineering. They make two models for each character, one with technical details and also painted in colors. The other model is for immersing in water to gauge the amount of helium needed. Computers scan the schematics and experts piece the material together to make balloon’s chambers. A first time balloon coasts about $190,000 and after that, costs run around $90,000.

Each balloon has its own pilot, who walks backwards and directs a crew of volunteers holding guide ropes. Macy trains its own balloon pilots.


Plan Your Thanksgiving Eve Inflation Adventure

Lining up a limo or party bus is a wise decision because parking is next to impossible and so is NYC driving. US Coachways has the perfect vehicle and driver for you. Have a great time, travel safely and go green.

Reserve Your Charter Today

Book online, the fast and easy way. Call 1-888-340-9122 to reserve your vehicle and feel free to ask about discounts.

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