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Why I Love the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

December 10, 2009

Published by Ozarks Unbound

NOVEMBER 27, 2009 AT 1:36 PM 

bethany_larsonBy Bethany Larson
Ozarks Unbound
FAYETTEVILLE – In the absence of “30 Rock” this week, you are saved from my snarky comments about the show. Instead, I’m going to write about my absolute favorite thing in the entire world: the  Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
All things good and holy are captured in this parade. It’s the official kick-off for the Christmas (shopping) season and the only reason I wake up early on Thanksgiving morning. I roll out of bed excited, run to the television, flip it on, and sit in awe for three hours watching the entertainers, floats, and balloons make their way to the iconic Macy’s store on New York’s 34th Street.
It’s not that there is necessarily anything new or exciting about the parade each year — but that’s precisely why I love it so.
Every year, I know the same floats and balloons will come down the street, high school marching bands will perform, Broadway casts will sing and dance, and the Rockettes will high kick. And there’s something about that reliability that is comforting.
But perhaps more than my irrational love for the spectacle of the Parade, is my appreciation for the history of the Parade.
In the 1920s, the majority of the Macy’s store employees were immigrants who were extremely proud of both their heritages and their new lots in life as Americans. To merge these ideas and celebrate the holidays, the employees wanted a festival like the one’s they knew in Europe. So, Macy’s created a parade so that their employees, as well as entertainers, marching bands, and Central Park Zoo animals, could march from 145th Street in Harlem to the 34th Street store. Around a quarter of a million people came out to watch the inaugural Parade, and thus the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was born.
Now, the Parade is a staple in the lives of nearly every American and makes this 22-year-old unbelievably happy. Surely, what the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is now would soften the hearts of the immigrants who first inspired the idea.

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