Tuesday, November 22, 2011


   America’s favorite holiday tradition returns once more to dazzle and enchant millions nationwide with its signature magic. On Thursday, Nov. 24, 2011 at 9 a.m., the 85th Anniversary Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade® will take to the streets of New York City with a cornucopia of whimsical treats for the whole family. From new giant character helium balloons, including Paul Frank’s iconic monkey Julius and Sonic the Hedgehog, to out-of–this world floats including ZHU-NIVERSE! and Frozen Fall Fun, the magic begins at the sound of Let’s Have A Parade! This iconic phrase has catapulted gaggles of clowns, exciting performance groups, pulse-pounding marching bands, celebrities and the one-and-only Santa Claus down the streets of Manhattan for 85 years of unrivaled wonder.
   In 1924, a foundation was set for an incomparable procession that has grown into a world-famous icon. Giving thanks while giving back to New York and the nation, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has become the benchmark for pageantry and the official kick-off celebration to the holiday season.

   “Since the first storied march in 1924, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has been a call to celebration. Over the years, gathering to watch the parade, whether in person or on television, has become a tradition for families across the nation and synonymous with the start of the holiday season,” said Amy Kule, executive producer of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. “This year as we celebrate 85 years of magical moments, we are truly humbled by the unique role the Macy’s parade now fills in the lives of Americans, and we are thrilled to celebrate this special milestone with an unparalleled line-up of the new balloons, floats and the nation’s best performers - all here to kick-off the spectacular holiday season.”
   Before the event kicks-off, the ribbon must be cut and the iconic words “Let’s Have a Parade” must be shouted, as has been the tradition since 1924. Joining parade Executive Producer Amy Kule for this very special moment are kids from Tuesday’s Children, a family service organization that has made a long-term commitment to every individual impacted by the events of September 11. This ribbon-cutting is meant to signify both a moment of remembrance and serve as an uplifting tribute to the lives lost on that day 10 years ago.

Tim Burton and the balloon he created for the 2011 parade

   Ready for it 85th anniversary edition, the parade of wonder will feature 15 giant character balloons; 44 novelty/ornament balloons, balloonicles and balloonheads; 27 floats; 1,600 cheerleaders, dancers and performance group members; 800 clowns; 11 marching bands; a host of celebrity performers, and the one-and-only Santa Claus.
Since 1927, the parade’s signature balloons have captured the imagination of the world. First conceived by famed Macy’s window designer and puppeteer Tony Sarg as upside-down marionettes, the balloons have grown to be one of the parade’s signature elements. This year, taking flight in the 85th edition will be a jetpack-sporting awesome monkey, Paul Frank’s Julius, and Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog, which returns to the big show after its pioneering debut in 1993 as the procession’s first-ever video game character.
   Also joining the balloon procession is a special creation by world-renowned filmmaker and artist Tim Burton. B., a lonely balloon boy outsider with a special wish to fly in the Macy’s parade, will debut as the line-up’s latest acquisition for its “Blue Sky Gallery” series. The airborne gallery features inflatable versions of artistic works by world-renowned modern artists. Previous marches have featured balloons by Tom Otterness, Jeff Koons, Keith Haring and Takashi Murakami.

   Rounding out the new balloon cast will be the extremely outspoken and affable Aflac Duck balloonicle, a recreation of the 1948 Harold the Policeman balloon, and the winning design of Macy’s nationwide Great American Elf Adventure which invited the public to design a new Elf balloon for the parade - Keith Lapinig’s Gazer.
Returning buoyant balloon favorites will include Buzz Lightyear, Clumsy Smurf, Diary of A Wimpy Kid, “Super Cute” Hello Kitty, Kermit the Frog, Kung Fu Panda™, Pikachu, Pillsbury Doughboy®, Ronald McDonald®, Sailor Mickey, Snoopy the Flying Ace, Spider-Man® and SpongeBob SquarePants.

Kiki and Kai Kai Balloons

   The parade’s wonder-filled floating stages depict the familiar and the out-of-this world. From a hometown hockey game with a twist to a wonderland of fun, the five new floats set to join the parading fun will have audiences mesmerized, leaving behind a trail of enchantment. Completing the convoy of 27 floats the magic on board for the ride include scenes depicting a Turkey Day slap shot showdown on the Frozen Fall Fun float, the celebration of the nation’s beacon of hope and liberty on the Gift of Freedom, the special nod to Macy’s parade history on the Hats Off To Our Heritage float, the frolicking celebration aboard P.B. Polar Bear, and the zhany fun found on the ZHU-NIVERSE!

Wimpy Kid’s Greg Heffley Balloon
Diary of a Wimpy Kid balloon prototype

   The returning float roster includes 1-2-3 Sesame Street, Big Apple, Bridge To The Future, Christmas in Central Park, Dora’s Christmas Carol Adventure, Elves Raise the Roof, Home Baked Goodness, International Cele-bear-ation Clock Tower, Jolly Polly Pirate Ship, Local Heroes Helping Everyday, Macy’s Parade Drum, Marion-Carole Showboat, Mount Rushmore’s American Pride, On the Roll Again, Pep Rally, Santa’s Sleigh, The Smurfs?, Snoopy’s Doghouse, Tom Turkey, The True Spirit of Thanksgiving, Wild West Express and Woodland Family Gathering.
   Set to get the party started and bring the beat to the holiday spectacular, America’s best marching bands will hit all the right notes as they step into the spotlight. After more than a year’s worth of preparation, the 11 marching bands set to wow the crowds with their musical and marching ability are ready for the start of the holiday season.   

Sonic the Hedgehog returning to parade

Representing their home state and local community, the bands in the line-up are truly the best of the best. Stepping-off to kick start the holidays will be Carmel High School, Carmel, IN; Dobyns-Bennett High School, Kingsport, TN; Na Koa Ali’l: Hawaii All-State Marching Band, Hawaii; Homestead High School, Cupertino, CA; Homewood High School, Homewood, AL; Legacy High School, Broomfield, CO; Miami University, Oxford, OH; Nation Ford High School, Fort Mill, SC; NYPD Marching Band, New York, NY; Plymouth-Canton Educational Park, Canton, MI; and Macy’s Great American Marching Band, featuring students from all 50 states.
   The parade’s most ardent purveyors of razzle dazzle are the nation’s most entertaining performance groups. They add a dose of dance, pomp, cheer and vocal acrobatics that set the stage for a celebration. From cheerleaders to a Bolivian dance ensemble, this year’s parade features a host of unique performers. Set to wow the crowds are performers 610 Stompers, Alma Boliviana, Camp Broadway, CAP 21, Mobile Azalea Trail Maids, Spirit of America Dance, Stagedoor Manor, United We Sing and Varsity Spirit Cheer.

Julius the Sock Monkey balloon drawing

   Taking the stage to help spread holiday cheer will be stars from music, film, stage, sports and television, who are set to perform for the nation at Macy’s famed red star mark on 34th Street. Stars joining the festivities this year include Rodney Atkins, the Big Apple Circus, Mary J. Blige, Cobra Starship, Michael Feinstein, The Fresh Beat Band, Cee Lo Green, Avril Lavigne, Shelby Lynne, Mannheim Steamroller, China Anne McClain, Scotty McCreery, Ingrid Michaelson, the cast and Muppets of Sesame Street, Savannah Outen, Power Rangers Samurai, Miss America 2011 Teresa Scanlan, Willard Scott, Straight No Chaser, U.S. Naval Academy Glee Club, Johnny Weir and Zendaya.
Since its first national broadcast in 1948, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has been the nation’s star attraction. Regularly one of the country’s most viewed events, millions of families tune-in from coast-to-coast to watch the telecast. This year, the TODAY Show’s Matt Lauer, Ann Curry and Al Roker will treat viewers from 9 a.m. to Noon, in all time zones in the United States, to Thanksgiving’s best entertainment special. On board to add an extra dose of star power are exclusive performances from some of the hottest Broadway shows including Daniel Radcliffe and the cast of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Sister Act, and Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark. In addition, the telecast will feature a special performance from the world-famous Radio City Rockettes?.

   The 85th Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade will step-off this year at 77th Street and Central Park West. The procession will travel down to Columbus Circle, turn onto Central Park South before making a right turn to march down 7th Avenue to 42nd Street. The Parade will then turn east towards 6th Avenue where it will march down the Avenue of the Americas. At 34th Street, the parade will make its final turn west marching in front of Macy’s Herald Square. The Parade will begin promptly at 9 a.m. and end at Noon.
   A Holiday Treat for Children Everywhere, the motto of the Macy’s Parade has stood for 85 years, and will continue to usher in the season of joy for years to come.

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