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The new Kermit balloon, which debuted in 2002.

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is an annual parade held every Thanksgiving Day in New York City. Originally called the Macy's Christmas Parade, it was first held in 1924 and has run continually since then, only missing three years due to rubber shortages during World War II. The two and a half mile parade features large balloons of well-known characters alongside floats and marching bands, ending with a float of Santa Claus upon his sleigh, marking the start of the Christmas season.

Kermit the Frog and the Muppets[]


Kermit the Frog reports on his balloon counterpart in 1977.


Kermit the Frog balloon

Kermit bullwinkle balloon 1977

Kermit balloon, 1977


The Muppets in the Electric Mayhem Bus in the 1979 parade.

Muppet Cab

Beau's Taxi in the 1981 parade


Kermit and Piggy interviewed by Al Roker in 2002


Aerial view of Kermit balloon, 2007.

Macy's 2016 bakery brigade

The Muppets performing "Hey, It's Macy's!" in the opening number of the 2016 parade.

The first Kermit the Frog balloon debuted in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1977.[1] The balloon was 63 feet tall and 24 feet wide, and took four hours and 5,220 cubic feet of helium to reach its full size. It was constructed at the Goodyear plant in Rockmart, Georgia.[2]

The Muppet cast made a live appearance in the 1979 Parade to promote The Muppet Movie. Miss Piggy rode the parade route in a Rolls Royce, followed by the rest of the Muppets in the Electric Mayhem bus.[3] The characters on the bus included Kermit, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, Rowlf, Scooter, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Beaker, the Swedish Chef, Camilla and the members of the Electric Mayhem.

Also in 1979, the Kermit balloon was the first inflatable from the parade to travel outside of the USA, heading to England to help celebrate the International Year of the Child.[3]

The 1981 parade featured Beauregard's taxi, with Beauregard driving madly around the parade. Kermit, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, and Rizzo the Rat appear as passengers. Ed Christie, costumed as Beauregard, drove the taxi, with Jim, Cheryl, and Heather Henson performing the characters in the back seat.[4] In 1982, the Muppets were represented by a car being driven by Beauregard, with pushing assistance from Sweetums, and carrying Statler, Waldorf, Gonzo, and some rats.[5]

The 1985 parade was affected by heavy rain, which weighed down the balloons. The Kermit balloon ripped its stomach along Central Park West during the parade.[1] An AP report said that "The Kermit balloon was punctured by a tree and almost crashed into spectators as it sailed down the parade route with its left foot dragging the street."[6] Kermit was carried low to the ground for the rest of the parade by his green-clad frog handlers.[7]

In 1987, Jim Henson and Kermit appeared live on the telecast to accept the Rollie Award, an award named for Rowland H. Macy, for their years of service to the parade.[1] Kermit graciously accepted the award, saying, "Listen, to be immortalized in a large balloon about 75 feet tall and filled with gas is one of the greatest thrills of my life, and I wish everybody out there could have the same exciting thrill. And it would be a wonderful parade if they did."[8]

The Kermit balloon suffered another mishap in 1991, when it scraped against high branches on Central Park West, tearing a hole in the balloon. "We thought he had turned into a tree frog," said Marc Schwab, the balloon captain. "Personally, I think he saw Miss Piggy on a sidestreet. But he was a real trouper. He was down, so to speak, but he wasn't out."[9] The New York Times reported that the balloon, "borne by its crew and wildly cheered on by the crowd, galumphed on toward Herald Square."[10] Parade producer Jean McFaddin talked about the incident in 1995, saying, "If a balloon gets disfigured so that it would be disruptive to children, we pull it out of the parade." Asked what would be disruptive enough, McFaddin answered, "If Kermit had his face torn off." Kermit was left in the parade in '91, although the mostly-deflated, 1,000-pound balloon had to be carried down Broadway by his handlers. "He looked like he was swimming," McFaddin said.[11]

After this incident, the Kermit balloon was retired from the Parade.[12] The next year, Kermit and several other balloons (including Betty Boop and Goofy) were brought to Disney-MGM Studios for their Macy's New York Christmas display.

In 1994, Kermit the Frog was named the parade's "Holiday Ambassador." Costumed versions of him and Miss Piggy were seen during the parade, riding in a horse-drawn carriage (underscored by "It Feels Like Christmas").

After an 11-year hiatus from the Parade, a new Kermit the Frog balloon debuted in 2002.[1] The new balloon is 78 feet long, 61 feet high and 36 feet wide, with a volume of 11,000 cubic feet of helium.[12]

To mark the occasion, Kermit was the official holiday mascot for Macy's in 2002, and he rode on Santa's sleigh at the end of the parade.[13] During the broadcast, Kermit and Miss Piggy were interviewed by Today Show weatherman Al Roker to talk about the new balloon, as well as to promote It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, which aired the following night.[1]

In 2008, Kermit appeared live on the Central Park float, and performed the song "I Believe."[14] In 2009, Kermit performed the song again, as a duet with Tiffany Thornton. The song was also performed on the Santa Claus float soon after.

The Muppets kicked off the 2016 parade with a pre-recorded musical number, "Hey, It's Macy's!," a variation of The Great Muppet Caper's opening number, "Hey a Movie!." The song was performed by a large crowd of Muppets, including Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, Scooter, Rowlf the Dog, Lew Zealand, the Swedish Chef, Sweetums, Pepe, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Beaker, Statler and Waldorf, a couple of Chickens and some Penguins, along with assorted Macy's clowns and dancing Christmas trees. Following this, Miss Piggy appeared in an introduction with Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie, which led into a live performance of "Twist and Shout" by Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem. Toward the end of the parade, Miss Piggy and Tony Bennett gave a live performance of "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town." Bill Barretta directed the pre-recorded opening.

For the 2016 appearance, Macy's social media included multiple audition resumes by Muppets, including Gonzo, Pepe, and Penguin #4.

Sesame Street[]


Michael Frith’s sketch of the original Big Bird Balloon, 1988.

Sesame float Macy Parade 1970s

The Sesame Street float in the 1970s.


M. Bass' design for the 1979 Sesame Street float.


The 123 Sesame Street float used since 2004.


The Sesame Street cast joined by their international counterparts for the 2002 parade.


Jane Krakowski, Alan, and the Sesame Street Muppets seen in their pre-taped performance for the 2019 parade.


The Muppets take the bus to the 2019 parade.


Several Sesame characters have also appeared in balloon form. Big Bird's balloon debuted in 1988; the balloon (designed by Michael Frith) featured Big Bird wearing a winter cap and a sweater, and is followed by smaller balloons of alphabet blocks. The Big Bird balloon led the parade in 1989, 1991 and 1998; the latter parade was particularly windy and rainy, and the balloon was kept low to the ground in order to test the wind.[15]

After ten years, the original Big Bird balloon was wearing out -- according to a Christian Science Monitor article, "Its stitching is frayed, and he's been patched a lot." A new balloon was made in 2001, showing Big Bird playing a pair of cymbals.[16]

A Super Grover balloon launched in 2003 (designed by Louis Henry Mitchell),[17] and was followed by an Abby Cadabby balloon in 2007.

The Abby Cadabby balloon stands at 56 feet long, 37.5 feet wide, and 48.5 feet high; Abby and her magic wand are filled with 16,100 cubic feet of helium.[18]


A Sesame Street float first appeared in the parade in 1974,[19] with Muppets and cast members waving to the crowd. The original float featured two buildings -- the 123 Sesame Street brownstone, and Hooper's Store. The streetlight with the Sesame Street street sign was located at the front of the float; a ramshackle fence was at the back, decorated with numbers and letters. Big Bird perched on the roof of the float; Cookie Monster and other Muppet characters stuck their heads out of the windows, and human cast members (including Mr. Hooper, Gordon and Bob) stood on the front of the float.[20] This float appeared in five consecutive parades, through 1978.[21]

In 1979, Children's Television Workshop celebrated the 10th anniversary of the show with a brand new float, a much taller, two-story structure. Big Bird sat in his nest at the top of the building, and cast members and kids appeared at the front of the float. A sign was carried in front of the float which said, "Macy's wishes Sesame Street a Happy 10th Year."[22] As most of the main Muppet performers were working The Electric Mayhem Bus for The Muppet Movie, additional puppeteers were recruited. Among them were Kevin Clash, in his first Muppet-related performance. Clash performed Cookie Monster, and remembers having lost his voice from shouting in the gravelly impersonation throughout the route. It was at this parade's Henson after-party that Kermit Love introduced him to Jim Henson.[23]

The 1981 float promoted the new Sesame Street Live shows, including walk-around characters. A sign was carried in front of the float: "Macy's presents Sesame Street Live."[24] A regular Sesame Street was discontinued soon after, but the show continued to participate irregularly in the parade in the years to come. In 1984, the human cast, some of the Muppets, and walk-around characters promoted the upcoming film Follow That Bird while riding in the Countmobile and the Sloppy Jalopy.

The Sesame Street made a grand return in 1994 with an abstract design of the street made from books based on the show's current literacy curriculum.[25] A Sesame Street float has been a part of the parade every year since. In the 1997 parade, Elmo appeared alongside Katie Couric for a brief interview and to introduce the Sesame Street float.

In 2002, the Sesame Street float featured a message about peace and universal goodwill, and the American cast was joined by a group of international Sesame Muppets. The international Muppets included Filfil and Nimnim from Egypt's Alam Simsim, Hu Hu Zhu from China's Zhima Jie, Rumpel and Samson from Germany's Sesamstrasse, Kareem, Dafi and Haneen from the Palestinian Shara'a Simsim, Abelardo and Lola from Mexico's Plaza SΓ©samo, Zeliboba and Businka from the Russian Ulitsa Sezam, and Moishe Oofnik from the Israeli Rechov Sumsum and Shalom Sesame. That year, the cast sang "We Are All Earthlings."

The current Sesame Street float, introduced in the 2004 parade, measures 32 feet long, 20 feet wide, and 2 stories tall.[26] It was designed by Louis Henry Mitchell, who was asked to have it represent "the show’s history (the classic brownstone) while also doing something modern and visually exciting."[17]

To celebrate the show's 50th anniversary in the 2019 parade, the cast and Muppets, joined by the National Dance Institute, kicked off the route through Herald Square with a partially pre-taped musical number ("Hey, Hey, Hey, We're On Our Way"). Part of the opening was taped on the Sesame Street set at Kaufman Astoria Studios (on November 15),[27] followed by on-location shots throughout the city. The opening featured cameos from celebrities, including Jane Krakowski, Al Roker, Darren Criss, Justin Long, Lucy Liu, and Lester Holt.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sesame Street float was not featured in the 2020 parade. Instead, Big Bird, Elmo, Rosita, Grover, and Abby Cadabby delivered a pre-taped holiday message from the set at Kaufman Astoria Studios. The float returned in the 2021 parade, but only the Muppet characters were present.

Alan Muraoka has served as choreographer for the float, originally in 2001, then consistently since 2013.[28]

Year Song Characters
1974 Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Mr. Hooper, Gordon, Bob,[29] The Count, Bert[30]
1976 "What's the Name of That Song?"[31] David, Bob, Linda, Gordon, Mr. Hooper, Willy, Big Bird, Oscar, Ernie, Bert, Rodeo Rosie
1978 Big Bird[32]
1979 Big Bird, Cookie Monster, The Count, Grover, Herry Monster, Barkley, Gordon, Mr. Hooper, Maria, Kermit Love[33][34]
1980 "Keep Christmas with You" Big Bird, Grover, Cookie Monster, Telly Monster, The Count, Deena, Barkley, Oscar, Bob, Maria, Mr. Hooper, Kermit Love, Ernie and Bert (walk-arounds)
1981 "Keep Christmas with You" Big Bird, Grover, Ernie, Bert, Oscar, Barkley, Cookie Monster (walk-around), Bob, Gordon, Maria, Mr. Hooper, Susan, Kermit Love, Sesame Street Live characters[24]
1982 "Keep Christmas with You" Bob, Maria, Mr. Hooper, David, Olivia, Kermit Love, Barkley, Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, Grover, Herry Monster, Mona, Ernie, Bert, Cookie Monster, Count von Count (walk-around), kids[35]
1984 Big Bird, Oscar, Bob, Maria, Olivia, Susan, walk-around Count, walk-around Ernie, walk-around Bert, walk-around Honkers[36]
1988 "Sing" Ernie and Bert (walk-arounds), Bob, David, Gordon, Maria, Gina, Miles

Note: Despite what Sandy Duncan mentions in her introduction to the cast, Susan was not in attendance.

1990 "Do You Like Me?"[37] Ernie and Bert walk-around characters.
1994 "Walking Proud" Big Bird, Elmo, Zoe, Prairie Dawn Cookie Monster, Betty Lou, Roxie Marie, Oscar the Grouch, Telly, Grundgetta, The Count, Ernie, Bert, Grover, Joey and Davey Monkey, Rosita, Alice Snuffleupagus, Carlo, Gina, Celina, Bob, Susan, Maria, Gabi, Mr. Handford, Jamal, Angela
1995 "Believe in Yourself" Big Bird, Elmo, Zoe, Betty Lou, Baby Bear, Rosita, Bert, Ernie, Grover, The Count, Humphrey, Prairie Dawn, Cookie Monster, Alice Snuffleupagus, Oscar the Grouch, Grundgetta, Telly, Carlo, Gina, Celina, Luis, Bob, Ruthie, Susan, Lexine
1996 "A Little Bit" Big Bird, Elmo, Zoe, Betty Lou, Cookie Monster, Grover, The Count, Alice Snuffleupagus, Oscar the Grouch, Ernie, Bert, Rosita, Telly, Grundgetta, Roxie Marie, Joey and Davey Monkey, Carlo, Celina, Bob, Linda, Ruthie, Gina, Maria, Gordon, Susan, Gabi
1997 "Rubber Duckie" Ernie, Bert, Big Bird, The Count, Grundgetta, Cookie Monster, Baby Bear, Alice Snuffleupagus, Rosita, Zoe, Prairie Dawn, Betty Lou, Grover, Oscar the Grouch
1998 "Sing"[1] Ernie, Bert, Elmo, Telly, Herry Monster, Cookie Monster, Grover, Rosita, Baby Bear, AM Monster, Maria, Gabi, Gina, Alan, Miles, Bob, Linda, Susan, Gordon

Note: Alice does not appear, presumably due to weather conditions; her performer, Judy Sladky, can be spotted on the float, however.

1999 "How Do You Do?"[1] Ernie, Elmo, Zoe, Cookie Monster, Rosita, Grundgetta, Telly, Grover, Count von Count, Stinky, Elizabeth, AM Monsters, Bob, Susan, Luis, Alan, Gabi, Miles
2000 "Reach Your Hand Up High" Big Bird, Elmo, Zoe, Grover, Telly, Bert, Ernie, Cookie Monster, Baby Bear, Lulu, Elizabeth, Rosita, Count von Count, Alice, Barkley, Oscar, Narf, Mel, Stinky, Mooba, Alan, Susan, Gordon, Miles, Gabi
2001 "A Little Bit" Big Bird, Elmo, Zoe, Gordon, Bob, Maria, Gina, Alan, Barkley, Alice, Telly, Bert, Ernie, Cookie Monster, Grover, Rosita, Count von Count, Baby Bear, Humphrey, Ingrid, Baby Natasha (Oscar also appears, but is not seen in the broadcast version[38])
2002 "We Are All Earthlings" U.S. characters: Big Bird, Elmo, Zoe, Cookie Monster, Bert, Grover, Ernie, The Count, Oscar, Rosita, Telly, Alan, Bob, Gina, Gordon, Miles, Gabi, Luis, Maria
International: Filfil, Nimni, Businka, Hu Hu Zhu, Rumpel, Samson, Kareem, Dafi, Haneen, Abelardo, Lola, Zeliboba, Moishe Oofnik
2003 "Good Morning World" Big Bird, Elmo, Grover, Herry, The Amazing Mumford, Cookie Monster, Telly, Baby Bear, The Count, Zoe, Prairie Dawn, Bert, Ernie, Rosita, Oscar, Alice, Barkley, Gordon, Bob, Gina, Alan, Luis, Maria, Gabi, Miles
2004 "The Street We Live On" Big Bird, Elmo, Zoe, Cookie Monster, Ernie, Bert, Oscar, Rosita, Grover, Prairie Dawn, The Count, Herry, Carina the Ballerina, Alice, Barkley, Bob, Luis, Gabi, Miles, Alan, Gina
2005 "Dancing Shoes" Big Bird, Elmo, Zoe, Alice, Barkley, Cookie Monster, Prairie Dawn, Ernie, Bert, Grover, Rosita, Telly, Baby Bear, Herry, The Count, Murray, Gordon, Susan, Bob, Miles, Gabi, Luis, Alan, Gina
2006 "Another Sunny Day"[39] Abby Cadabby, Big Bird, Elmo, Zoe, Alan, Prairie Dawn, Cookie Monster, Grover, Mr. Johnson, Rosita, Herry Monster, AM Monster, Penguin, Oscar, Ernie, Bert, Telly, Hoots the Owl, Gabi, Gina, Susan, Luis, Bob, Gordon, Miles
2007 "It Feels Good When You Sing a Song" Abby Cadabby, Big Bird, Elmo, Zoe, Alan, Gina, Miles, Gabi, Luis, Maria, Hoots, Barkley, Grover, Baby Bear, Cookie Monster, Alice, Rosita, Prairie Dawn, Murray, Oscar, The Count, Bert, Ernie, Bob, Susan, Telly, Grundgetta
2008 "Songs" Lang Lang, Abby Cadabby, Alice, Barkley, Big Bird, Elmo, Zoe, Alan, Bob, Herry, Telly, Baby Bear, Grover, Grundgetta, The Count, Prairie Dawn, Ernie, Bert, Murray Monster, Carina the Ballerina, Rosita, Oscar, Leela, Maria, Susan, Gina, Luis, Gordon, Gabi, Miles
2009 Medley: "Sing" and "What Makes Music?" Big Bird, Elmo, Abby, Zoe, Ernie, Bert, Grover, Cookie Monster, Murray, The Count, Oscar, Baby Bear, Telly, Rosita, Leela, Bob, Luis, Maria, Gordon
2010 "Music Deep Inside" Elmo, Abby, Big Bird, Zoe, Ernie, Bert, Grover, Rosita, Cookie Monster, Telly, Baby Bear, Oscar, Murray, The Count, Leela, Alan, Bob, Gordon, Gina, Susan, Gabi, Maria, Luis
2011 "Meet Me on Sesame Street" (YouTube) Elmo, Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Murray, The Count, Ernie, Bert, Zoe, Abby, Rosita, Grover, Telly, Baby Bear, Oscar, Maria, Luis, Leela, Alan, Gordon, Bob, Gina, Susan
2012 "What I Am" Big Bird, Elmo, Abby, Murray, Zoe, Rosita, Grover, Count von Count, Oscar, Telly, Baby Bear, Cookie Monster, Ernie, Bert, Alan, Leela, Bob, Gordon, Gina, Luis, Susan
2013 "Somebody Come and Play" Jimmy Fallon and the Roots, Big Bird, Elmo, Abby, Grover, Cookie, Oscar, The Count, Murray, Zoe, Telly, Rosita, Baby Bear, Ernie, Bert, Herry, Mando, Alan, Leela, Maria, Luis
2014 "Growing" Mando, Leela, Alan, Maria, Gordon, Elmo, Abby, Grover, Big Bird, Oscar, Murray, The Count, Rosita, Cookie Monster, Ernie, Bert, Zoe, Baby Bear, Telly, Prairie Dawn
2015 "Smarter, Stronger, Kinder" Alan, Nina, Questlove, Elmo, Abby, Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Ernie, Bert, Rosita, Grover, Prairie Dawn, Telly, The Count, Zoe, Baby Bear, Ovejita, Oscar
2016 "Try a Little Kindness" Alan, Nina, Chris Jackson, Elmo, Abby, Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Ernie, Bert, Rosita, Grover, Prairie Dawn, Telly, The Count, Herry, Zoe, Baby Bear
2017 "We Come Together" Alan, Nina, Leslie Odom Jr., Elmo, Abby, Big Bird, Grover, Ernie, Bert, Oscar, Rosita, Cookie Monster, Zoe, Telly, Prairie Dawn, Herry, Count von Count, Rudy with child dancers Kenneth Aikens, Anais and Mirabelle Lee, Sammi Erdheim, and Nate Grospe[40]
2018 "Plan the Play" Anika Noni Rose, Alan, Nina, Big Bird, Elmo, Abby, Rosita, Julia, Cookie Monster, Gonger, Rudy, Grover, Prairie Dawn, Count von Count, Zoe, Telly, Ernie, Bert, Oscar
2019 "Hey, Hey, Hey, We're On Our Way" Alan, Nina, Charlie, Big Bird, Elmo, Abby, Mr. Snuffleupagus, Oscar, Grover, Count von Count, Ernie, Bert, Cookie Monster, Gonger, Prairie Dawn, Rosita, Zoe, Telly, Julia, Rudy, Herry
Pre-taped segment: Mr. Johnson, Don Music, Penguins, Chicken, Turkey
2021 "See Us Coming Together" Elmo, Big Bird, Tango, Ji-Young, Abby, Tamir, Gabrielle, Cookie Monster, Count von Count, Julia, Grover, Rosita, Ernie, Bert, Oscar
2022 "Best Christmas Ever" Alan, Nina, Elmo, Big Bird, Tango, Ji-Young, Tamir, Gabrielle, Grover, Abby, Rudy, Julia, Bert, Ernie, Cookie Monster, Count von Count, Rosita, Oscar, Snowman
2023 "Best Christmas Ever" Ashley Park, Alan, Nina, Elmo, Big Bird, Tango, Ji-Young, Tamir, Gabrielle, Grover, Abby, Rudy, Julia, Bert, Ernie, Cookie Monster, Rosita, Oscar

Fraggle Rock[]


Manfred Bass's design for the float (1983)

A Fraggle Rock float appeared in the Parade in 1983[1] and 1984.[41] The float was primarily a lavish Fraggle cave set, with a set based on the Gorgs' garden above. The main Fraggle cast (Gobo, Wembly, Mokey, Boober, Red, and Uncle Traveling Matt) were featured, along with various other Fraggles (including two Fraggles balanced on a seesaw).

For the 1984 float, a large version of Junior Gorg was added to the top of the float, swinging his club at various nearby Fraggles. Gabriel Velez operated the Gorg puppet for the parade.[42] In both years, the "Fraggle Rock Theme" was performed, and the float was accompanied by a group of Fraggle walk-around characters.[43]

In 2022, in promotion for Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock, Uncle Traveling Matt was announced to appear live during the parade.[44]A three-video series was shared online the week prior, showing Uncle Matt venturing from Fraggle Rock to New York City. Matt appeared periodically throughout the parade, including interacting with Jessica Chastain. He was erroneously introduced by co-host Hoda Kotb as coming from "Jim Henderson's" Fraggle Rock. The other Fraggle Rock characters are seen in pre-taped segments, establishing their communication with Matt, and later hosting their own makeshift parade. Spencer Lott assisted Dave Goelz in performing Traveling Matt for this appearance.[45]

Muppet Appearances at the Macy's Parade[]


A Muppet Show photo release promoting the launch of the Kermit the Frog balloon for the 1977 Macy's Parade.

Ss thankgivingparade

The Sesame Street float, 1979.


Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade UNO.


From the 1979 Sesame Street Calendar

Natgeo world kermit balloon

National Geographic World, November 1978.

Bold text indicates the debut of a new balloon, float or appearance.

  • 1974: Sesame Street float[20]
  • 1975: Sesame Street float[29]
  • 1976: Sesame Street float[46]
  • 1977: Kermit the Frog balloon,[1] Sesame Street float[21]
  • 1978: Kermit the Frog balloon,[1] Sesame Street float[21]
  • 1979: The Electric Mayhem bus,[3] new Sesame Street float,[22] Kermit the Frog balloon[3]
  • 1980: Kermit the Frog balloon, Sesame Street float[1]
  • 1981: Beauregard's cab, Kermit the Frog balloon,[1] Sesame Street float[24]
  • 1982: Jim Henson,[47] Kermit the Frog balloon,[1] Sesame Street float,[48] Beauregard, Sweetums, Statler, Waldorf, Gonzo, and rats
  • 1983: Fraggle Rock float,[1] Kermit the Frog balloon[49]
  • 1984: Fraggle Rock float,[41] Kermit the Frog balloon, Sesame Street car[36]
  • 1985: Kermit the Frog balloon[1]
  • 1986: Kermit the Frog balloon[50]
  • 1987: Jim Henson and Kermit accept the Rollie Award,[1] Kermit the Frog balloon[51]
  • 1988: Big Bird balloon, Ernie and Bert walk-arounds, Bob, David, Gordon, Maria, Gina, and Miles
  • 1989: Big Bird balloon
  • 1990: Kermit and Miss Piggy walk-arounds riding in a Rolls-Royce car,[52] Ernie and Bert walk-arounds sing "Do You Like Me?,"[37] Kermit the Frog balloon,[53] Big Bird balloon,[53] broadcast includes a tribute to Henson[52]
  • 1991: Kermit the Frog balloon,[9] Big Bird balloon
  • 1992: Big Bird balloon[54]
  • 1993: Big Bird balloon[55]
  • 1994: Costumed Kermit and Miss Piggy in a carriage, Big Bird balloon,[56] Sesame Street float
  • 1995: Big Bird balloon,[57] Sesame Street float[58]
  • 1996: Big Bird balloon,[1] Sesame Street float[1]
  • 1997: Big Bird balloon,[59] Sesame Street float
  • 1998: New Sesame Street float,[60] Big Bird balloon[61]
  • 1999: Big Bird balloon,[62] Sesame Street float[1]
  • 2000: Big Bird balloon,[63] Sesame Street float
  • 2001: New Big Bird balloon,[16] Sesame Street float,[64] Kermit walk-around appears on a commemorative float with other children's characters[65]
  • 2002: New Kermit the Frog balloon,[1] Big Bird balloon,[66] Sesame Street float
  • 2003: Super Grover balloon,[1] Kermit the Frog balloon,[67] Big Bird balloon,[67] Sesame Street float[1]
  • 2004: Kermit the Frog balloon,[68] Super Grover balloon,[68] Big Bird balloon, Sesame Street float[69]
  • 2005: Super Grover balloon,[70] Big Bird balloon,[70] 123 Sesame Street float[70]
  • 2006: Super Grover balloon,[71] Big Bird balloon,[71] 123 Sesame Street float[71]
  • 2007: Abby Cadabby balloon,[72] Kermit the Frog balloon,[72] 123 Sesame Street float[72]
  • 2008: Kermit the Frog rides on the Central Park float and performs "I Believe,"[14] Kermit the Frog balloon,[73] Abby Cadabby balloon,[73] 123 Sesame Street float with Lang Lang[73]
  • 2009: Kermit the Frog balloon, 123 Sesame Street Float, Abby Cadabby balloon, Kermit rides on the Bountiful Harvest Cornucopia float and performs "I Believe" with Tiffany Thornton
  • 2010: Kermit the Frog balloon, 123 Sesame Street Float
  • 2011: Kermit the Frog balloon, 123 Sesame Street Float
  • 2012: Kermit the Frog balloon, 123 Sesame Street Float
  • 2013: 123 Sesame Street Float (featuring Jimmy Fallon and the Roots)
  • 2014: 123 Sesame Street Float
  • 2015: 123 Sesame Street float (featuring QuestLove)
  • 2016: Disney Muppets opening number, Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem performance, 123 Sesame Street float, Miss Piggy and Tony Bennett performance
  • 2017: 123 Sesame Street float (featuring Leslie Odom Jr.)
  • 2018: 123 Sesame Street float (featuring Anika Noni Rose)
  • 2019: Sesame Street parade opening number, 123 Sesame Street float
  • 2020: Sesame Street Muppets (via prerecorded video)
  • 2021: 123 Sesame Street float
  • 2022: Fraggles, 123 Sesame Street Float
  • 2023: 123 Sesame Street float (featuring Ashley Park)


Macy's also carries parade exclusive merchandise every year. An annual item is the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Snowglobe, which features representative balloons and floats parading around in a circle. The Big Bird balloon has appeared in the Snowglobe, and the 2009 Snowglobe includes the Abby Cadabby balloon.

Macy's has also released special plush versions of Grover and Kermit.

UNO produced a special "Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Edition" of the classic card game; the cards included pictures of the Super Grover balloon (pictured on the fours) and the Kermit the Frog balloon (pictured on the sixes).

Specials including Muppets[]

On November 21, 1978, WNET (the New York PBS affiliate) aired a special about the Macy's parade, hosted by Kermit and Fozzie Bear. Titled Hip Hip Parade!, it featured the duo commenting on the parade, and poking fun at the medium of television.[74]

On Thanksgiving night 2011, NBC aired a Matt Lauer-hosted retrospective of the event and its broadcasts on NBC, including appearances by past hosts like Betty White (who hosted with Lorne Greene), Katie Couric, and Willard Scott. The special included ample archival footage of past Muppet appearances, including the Kermit and Super Grover balloons, Kermit's 2008 performance, Elmo and Couric talking in the booth (from the 1997 parade), Miss Piggy and Kermit talking on the program, and the 2008 Sesame Street float.


  • The 1979 Sesame Street Calendar represented the Macy's parade in its November picture, depicting the Kermit balloon being held by the Sesame Street Muppets, as well as the Sesame Street float itself.
  • Kermit the Frog made reference to his balloon incarnation by performing an impression of himself in the Thanksgiving Day parade on in the video "Take Three!"
  • Episode 4324 of Sesame Street features a spoof of the parade, where Oscar is running the Trashgiving Day Parade on the street. The corporate sponsor is Mr. Disgracy, played by Richard Kind.


See also[]


  1. ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade by Robert M. Grippo and Christopher Hoskins, Arcadia Publishing, 2005.
  2. ↑ "Balloons Over Broadway: Famous Frog Flies for Feast Fete," The Muppet Show Fan Club newsletter, vol 1, no 4. 1978.
  3. ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "Kermit Celebrates International Year of the Child," The Muppet Show Fan Club newsletter, vol 2, no 2. 1979.
  4. ↑ The Barretta Brothers: Ep #07 Alton Brown, Ed Christie, Ed Eyth. 07/11/20 (01:25:55)]
  5. ↑ (YouTube)
  6. ↑ "Thanksgiving in N.Y.: Superman a Bust in Holiday Parade," San Francisco Chronicle. November 29, 1985.
  7. ↑ (YouTube)
  8. ↑ (YouTube)
  9. ↑ 9.0 9.1 "Sighs of Relief, Mostly, for High-Flying Stars in Parade," James Barron, The New York Times. November 29, 1991.
  10. ↑ "Below Those Great, Big Balloons," Peter M. Nichols, The New York Times. November 19, 1995.
  11. ↑ "Above the Parade: Macy's balloons take the high road on Thanksgiving," Mary Vorobil, Newsday. November 21, 1995.
  12. ↑ 12.0 12.1 "Clear, Cold & Kermit for Big Parade," Ralph R. Ortega and Tamer El-Ghobashy, New York Daily News. November 28, 2002. (The article actually claims that the balloon retired in 1990.)
  13. ↑ "Peanuts fave leads flotilla: Charlie Brown star of holiday parade," Ralph R. Ortega, New York Daily News. November 27, 2002.
  14. ↑ 14.0 14.1 (YouTube)
  15. ↑ "Soggy spectacle: Rain keeps crowds away from Macy's annual parade," Mae M. Cheng, Newsday. November 27, 1998.
  16. ↑ 16.0 16.1 "Behind the scenes at the Macy's parade," Seth Stern, The Christian Science Monitor. November 20, 2001.
  17. ↑ 17.0 17.1 Louis Henry Mitchell at Kids' Comic Con 2013, recounted here
  18. ↑ Flying Icons - November 2007, Macy's Inc. press release
  19. ↑ timeline from Sesame Street: A Celebration - 40 Years of Life on the Street
  20. ↑ 20.0 20.1 CTW Products Group newsletter, William Whaley. November 25, 1974. Internal document available to the public at the CTW archives, Box 2.
  21. ↑ 21.0 21.1 21.2 CTW Products Group newsletter, William Whaley. November 20, 1978. Internal document available to the public at the CTW archives, Box 2.
  22. ↑ 22.0 22.1 CTW Products Group newsletter, William Whaley. December 6, 1979. Internal document available to the public at the CTW archives, Box 2.
  23. ↑ Panel discussion at Muppets, Music & Magic, as recorded for The MuppetCast episode 20.
  24. ↑ 24.0 24.1 24.2 CTW Products Group newsletter, William Whaley. December 1981. Internal document available to the public at the CTW archives, Box 2.
  25. ↑ The Spokesman-Review: Sesame Street discovers books - Nov 21, 1994
  26. ↑ "Floating Beauty: The 81st Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Rides Down Broadway on Theatrical Moving Stages," Macy's press release, November 2007.
  27. ↑ @beautyphonics on Instagram
  28. ↑ Alan Muraoka's directorial resume
  29. ↑ 29.0 29.1 CTW Products Group newsletter, William Whaley. November 1975. Internal document available to the public at the CTW archives, Box 2.
  30. ↑ Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade History
  31. ↑ (YouTube)
  32. ↑ "Olympic Athlete Hosts Parade," Bruce Jenner, New York Magazine. December 4, 1978.
  33. ↑ Panel discussion at Muppets, Music & Magic, as recorded for The Muppetcast episode 20.
  34. ↑ photograph
  35. ↑ (YouTube)
  36. ↑ 36.0 36.1 (YouTube)
  37. ↑ 37.0 37.1 (YouTube)
  38. ↑ Photo from Stories Matter blog
  39. ↑ (YouTube)
  40. ↑
  41. ↑ 41.0 41.1 "Cartoon Old-Timers and Upstarts are Parade Hits," Elaine Sciolino, The New York Times. November 23, 1984.
  42. ↑ Gabriel Velez's resume (archived)
  43. ↑ (YouTube)
  44. ↑ Adweek Apple TV+ Partnership Lets the Fraggles Rock the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade October 26, 2022
  45. ↑ Instagram story
  46. ↑ "Waiting for Bullwinkle and Bird Worthwhile Trial for 2 Children," Lena Williams, The New York Times. November 26, 1976.
  47. ↑ Photograph
  48. ↑ CTW Products Group newsletter, William Whaley. September 1982. Internal document available to the public at the CTW archives, Box 2.
  49. ↑ "Parade's Star Quality Undimmed By Rain or Mickey Mouse Mishap," Maureen Dowd, The New York Times. November 25, 1983.
  50. ↑ (YouTube)
  51. ↑ "Four Debuts During a 'Spectacular' Parade," Michael Freitag, The New York Times. November 27, 1987.
  52. ↑ 52.0 52.1 (YouTube)
  53. ↑ 53.0 53.1 "Airborne animation: Balloons give a lift to parade," Susan Wloszczyna, USA Today. November 21, 1990.
  54. ↑ "Thanksgiving Day Parade, 1992: No Rein on This Parade," Michael Moss, Newsday. November 27, 1992.
  55. ↑ (YouTube)
  56. ↑ "Thanks for the Parade: Barney and company soar over delighted city," Jesse Mangaliman, Newsday. November 25, 1994.
  57. ↑ "Children's Events," New York Magazine. November 27, 1995.
  58. ↑ "Sesame Street nostalgia among teenagers makes pre-school items cool to have and hold," The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ). February 15, 1996.
  59. ↑ "Macy's Parade of Balloons Gets One Thing It Doesn't Need: Wind," Douglas Martin, The New York Times. November 28, 1997.
  60. ↑ "Parade balloons on tighter leash: Wary of wind, teams will keep 'em in line," Tara George, New York Daily News. November 25, 1998.
  61. ↑ "Balloons Reined In, but Paradegoers Rained On," Douglas Martin, The New York Times. November 27, 1998.
  62. ↑ "Preparations for parade an event in itself," San Antonio Express-News. November 7, 1999.
  63. ↑ "Winds Relent Just Enough to Let the Parade Balloons Float," Winnie Hu, The New York Times. November 24, 2000.
  64. ↑ "Macy's parade celebrates 75th anniversary ; This year's event is N.Y.'s official 'coming out' since Sept. 11 attacks," Jeanne Jakle, San Antonio Express-News. November 22, 2001.
  65. ↑ Flickr photo upload by D'OtherPix
  66. ↑ "Fans chilled but thrilled: New and familiar sights at parade," Ellen Yan, Newsday. November 29, 2002.
  67. ↑ 67.0 67.1 "Above, Familiar Characters; Below, Their Cheering Fans," Robert D. McFadden, The New York Times. November 28, 2003.
  68. ↑ 68.0 68.1 "64 Degrees, 59 Balloons, and One Perfect Thanksgiving Day Parade," Patrick Healy, The New York Times. November 26, 2004.
  69. ↑ "No rain on parade - it's pure magic: 2.5 million catch rays and supersized sights," Veronika Belenkaya and Tony Sclafani, New York Daily News. November 26, 2004.
  70. ↑ 70.0 70.1 70.2 "Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade" list of events, JimsDeli NYC Guide. November 24, 2005.
  71. ↑ 71.0 71.1 71.2 "2006 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade" press kit, November 3, 2006.
  72. ↑ 72.0 72.1 72.2 "2007 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade" press kit, October 16, 2007.
  73. ↑ 73.0 73.1 73.2 "2008 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade" press kit, October 29, 2008.
  74. ↑ Jim Henson's Red Book (11/22/1979)

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