By Steve Kovacs (Introduction by Chuck Gibson)

LOVELAND, OH (November 27, 2023) – Today’s edition of Fun with Maps offers a surprise (at least to some of us) regarding the iconic Thanksgiving Day parades – and who doesn’t love a parade?

It is a Parade!

The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was held on November 27, 1924, in New York City.  Both it and Detroit’s tie for the second oldest Thanksgiving Day parades in the country, being beaten out by Philadelphia by 4 years.

Store employees dressed in holiday costumes, bands, and animals from the Central Park Zoo led Santa to the store entrance, where he soon appeared on the balcony to signal the arrival of the Christmas holiday shopping season.

The original parade drew a crowd of about 250,000 people, but today the 3-hour extravaganza draws about 44 million viewers on television on top of the hundreds of thousands lining the parade route.

In 1927, helium balloons replaced the live animals.  The balloons have become an iconic part of the parade and include heritage, novelty, and character classes.  The parade was suspended during World War II when rubber and helium were needed for the war effort, but otherwise has continued through all kinds of weather and political changes.

This map of New York is from 1876 and shows an expanding city.  The map’s cartographer is Colton.  

New York City – 1876 (Credit Steve Kovacs)

Steve Kovacs and his wife Theresa reside in Loveland, Ohio where they raised their two children. He is a passionate collector of antique maps.

Visit his antique map boutique world-on-paper online. Watch for his daily feature Steve Kovacs: Fun with Maps here on Loveland Beacon.