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Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade started in 1924 as Macy?s Christmas Parade with animals from the Central Park Zoo, this popular event now attracts more than 2.5 million people and another 44 million tune in to watch the balloons, floats, bands and celebrities in the most spectacular Thanksgiving holiday celebration in the world. The three hour parade trails from 77th Street down Central Park West to Columbus Circle, then down Broadway to Herald Square.

Celebrating Thanksgiving Day, Macy's colorful parade is one of New York's best. It features gigantic helium balloons shaped like cartoon heroes and other cartoon characters reaching high into the sky steal the show. Often shortened to Macy?s Day Parade, this annual tradition ties second-oldest Thanksgiving parade I the United States along with America's Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit. The three-hour event is held in New York City starting at 9:00 a.m. EST on Thanksgiving Day. In response to a worldwide shortage of helium in 2006, parade organizers used fewer balloons. Organizers had talked of not using any balloons, but compromised due to public demand.

Aside from the colorful balloons and floats, there are also live music and other performances including college and high school marching bands from across the country, performances by famous singers and bands, the Radio City Rockettes, as well as cheerleaders and dancers picked by the National Cheerleaders Association. The arrival of Santa Claus to ring the Christmas and holiday season concludes the parade.

Some of the past performers include Ashley Tisdale, Jonas Brothers, Lifehouse and Lea Michele in 2007; Kristin Chenoweth, Idina Menzel and The Clique Girlz, Charice Pempengco and Miley Cyrus in 2008; Andrea Bocelli, the Big Apple Circus, Jimmy Fallon, the cast of Sesame Street and Carly Simon in 2009; Kylie Minogue, Idia Arie, Big Time Rush, Carrie Underwood and Kanye West in 2010.

In order to get a good viewing spot, many people arrive before 6:30 a.m. the morning of the parade to stake out space along the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade route. Be sure to wear plenty of warm clothes and bring a thermos full of coffee or hot cocoa, as it can be quite cold.
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