How the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Ballooned Into a Cherished Holiday Tradition

The 93-year-old 'retinue of clowns and freaks' grew into an event that rivals the Super Bowl

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On Friday, Nov. 28, 1924, The New York Times carried an item on page 15 about Santa Claus making an early seasonal appearance: “With a retinue of clowns, freaks, animals and floats, the bewhiskered man in red … arrived at 9 o’clock yesterday morning.” The story, measuring just a few column inches, was a throwaway. Only in retrospect is it clear what a seminal event was in the offing: The modest procession floating down Broadway on that chilly Thursday morning was the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.



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This story first appeared in the Nov. 18, 2019, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.