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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Once the turkey is stuffed and in the oven, it’s time for the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade got its start 80 years ago when employees of the chain’s flagship in New York City dressed in costumes, borrowed animals from the Central Zoo, and marched with floats and bands. More than a quarter of a million people watched the festivities and Macy’s decided to make it an annual event.

By 1927, balloon animals replaced the real ones. Felix the Cat was first filled with air, but by 1928 helium was used. The Mickey Mouse balloon first appeared in 1934. During World War II, the parade was suspended due to the need for helium and rubber in the war effort. In 1947, the parade achieved true fame when Hollywood featured it prominently in the film Miracle on 34th Street.

The 2006 parade will feature Miss USA Tara Elizabeth Conner, “American Idol” winner Taylor Hicks and Barry Manilow. The Homewood High School Patriot Marching Band of Alabama will also be performing for their seventh time -– a record for return engagements at the parade.

Eat hearty on Thanksgiving –- it will fortify you for the rigors of “Black Friday,” the day after Thanksgiving, which has historically marked the kickoff to the holiday shopping season.

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