The 86th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade: New floats are grander than ever! [Exclusive video]
It's almost turkey day, and there's no better way to indulge our nostalgia like watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade while the bird is roasting. The parade began in 1924 and was first televised on Nov. 25, 1948, but it's not the '40s anymore. In 2012, the floats have evolved into massive marvels of construction and creativity, and we've got the inside scoop on five of the seven new floats that will be making their first journey down Central Park West and over to Sixth Avenue in New York City.
In this exclusive clip, John Piper -- VP creative director of Macy's Parade Studio, the designer for all the new floats, and the man with possibly the most fun job ever -- shares the details on what he's got in store for Nov. 22, and trust us: It's going to take a lot more than a giant helium tank a la Woody Woodpecker to get these up and going.
The floats range in size from 24 feet wide to 32 feet tall to about 40 feet long, but they are not transported as-is. They have to be disassembled and packed up to dimensions of 8.5 feet wide and 12.5 feet tall in order to fit through the Lincoln Tunnel and get to the parade site, where they are reassembled.
The floats are also built from the ground up by the Macy's Parade Studio team. The axles and the tires for each float are standard, but the rest is one-of-a-kind.
What are the inspirations for this year's floats? They run the gamut from snacks to rock 'n' roll!
The Pepperidge Farm Goldfish float features four fun-loving goldfish hosting a parade of their own, while the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" float takes things to the sewer underworld (slime included). It's clear that the "TMNT" are back and bigger than ever.
The Sprout float, inspired by the PBS Kids channel of the same name, opens up a magical land filled with kid-sized things, but bigger. As Piper puts it, "Macy's magic took these small things and made them into giant things looking like small things."
The Domino Sugar float sweetens things up; how could it not, with the world's largest mixing bowl? What's at the end of the cookie-press line? Cookie kids, of course!
After that sugar-induced energy kicks in, it'll definitely be time to rock out. What better way to do so than on the Gibson Guitars float, complete with bungee-cord strings? This float is not to be missed, because Jimmy Fallon and his late-night show's house band, The Roots, will be bringing the grooves on this float down the parade route.
Times have changed a lot since the very first Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, which consisted of Macy's employees bringing attention to the department store by dressing up in fun costumes and parading down the streets of NYC. They even borrowed animals from the Central Park Zoo to make the event more memorable, and it was; more than 250,000 people attended the inaugural run.
These days, the parade attracts 3.5 million people and around 50 million viewers at home. Despite the recent struggles that Hurricane Sandy has caused for New York and its citizens, we hope that millions still show up to support this time-honored tradition or tune in at home. Happy Thanksgiving!
The 86th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade airs Nov. 22 starting at 9 AM to noon on NBC.