The night before the Macy's thanksgiving Day parade is the tradition of the infamous balloon inflation.
For decades, people have gathered on the night before the infamous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade to watch the massive, well known character balloons get inflated.
The process is rather slow as it takes awhile before the helium turns the flat balloons into the whimsical characters we all know.
The line of balloons takes up two blocks. Sandbags and nets help to stabilize the inflatables, so they don’t escape during the night. The steps leading up to the actual inflation is quite complex.
A sketch is created and submitted for approval to engineers and character creators. Once makers receive a go-ahead, they create a clay model as a scaled replica.
Then a second model is painted to be directly copied onto the big balloon. Polyurethane pieces are cut and hot sealed and molded to form the character’s shape.
The Thanksgiving Day Parade itself has an interesting history behind it. During World War II, the parade did not take place from 1942-1944 and rubber from deflated balloons was donated to war effort.
In the early years, horses pulled the floats and live animals from the Central Park Zoo, such as bears, lions, and tigers were part of the parade.