Monday, November 30, 2009

Our Secret Thanksgiving Parade Report!

Hi everybody! Awake from your turkey coma yet? My pal Jazz (that was his Mom with mine as Lilypads in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade) and I thought we'd share some behind-the-scenes photos of the big parade with you.

For our international friends, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is a long-standing American tradition. This was the 83rd parade, with over 10,000 participants and 800 clowns! There are more than 3 million people on the streets to watch the parade and another 44 million watching on TV. And no, I wasn't really in the parade. Most of the participants - balloon handlers and clowns - are Macy's employees from across the country. Mom was sponsored by a friend who produces special events for Macy's. He wrote 4 of the songs performed in the parade, including "I Believe" which was nominated for an Emmy Award!

Thanksgiving Eve, Mommy met up with our pal Nelle who is a first-year student at RISD to watch the balloon inflation. This is almost as big a deal as the parade! Maybe you saw a Seinfeld episode about it? Lots of people who have apartments around the Museum of Natural History on the Upper West Side have parties that night.

It was a big drizzly and there were tons of people checking out the balloons.

This poor fireman looks like he's fallen down! There are nets over the balloons to keep them from floating away. In the early years of the parade, they'd release the balloons at the end and if you found one, it had an address on it so you could return it and get a reward. The big pink balloon is Abby Kadabby.

For the past few years, American artists have designed balloons as well.

Ooohh!! They're about to inflate Pikachu. First they roll him out....

then start unfolding....

...and more unfolding. Got to get that net over him too.

It takes quite a while to inflate a balloon. The inflations begin at 3:00 pm and end around 10:00 pm. Thousands of people will walk by to see them.

Here's the Energizer Bunny! He's 8 stories tall!

Poor Kermit! It isn't easy being green. Or face down.

Spiderman was back this year! He's super cool as the lines look like webs coming off of him. He's really huge - almost half a block long.

Okay Nelle! It's getting really soggy now - let's get some dinner.

Yikes! Mom's alarm didn't go off! So instead of waking up at 5:20, she woke up at 5:50! Luckily she had all her clothes laid out and ready to go. She arrived at the New Yorker Hotel - parade headquarters - around 6:05 am and still had to wait outside for about 40 minutes.

Once inside, there's a ballroom filled with costumes on racks, all in alphabetical order. It's a crazy hodge podge of snowmen, cactus and cowboys, dog walkers, flower pots, birthday cake - you name it!

After you get into your costume, you head to the next ballroom that's filled with make-up artists. They have a long list of the different types of clowns and who gets what makeup.

Here's Jazz's Mom getting her face done. Don't worry ladies, this isn't what happens when you get your makeup done on the main floor of Macy's.

TA DA! All dressed and made-up and ready to head to the buses! It's about 7:30 am now. The Parade kicks off at 9:00 sharp.

On to the buses that take us from the New Yorker Hotel on 34th street up to the Museum of Natural History on Central Park West. Anyone who looks over at one of these buses on the road would be in for big surprise!

Without the crowds, it's much easier to see the balloons as we make our way to Clown Corner. Hey! There's our pal Pikachu looking much plumper than when we last saw him. The floats, which are beautifully detailed, are built to fold down small enough to fit through the tunnel from New Jersey.

With all the excitement of the Parade, this poor pilgrim seems to have lost his head. (This is Mom's favorite photo!)

At Clown Corner, clown groups are assembled as the parade gets lined up.
It looks crazy, but it's really well organized! BAM! The confetti guns go off and Al Roker cuts the ribbon and the parade begins!

A loud speaker announces every one..."Safari Clowns (that's us!!!)...please join the parade!"
And we're off - the fastest, most fun 2 1/2 mile walk/skip through Manhattan down to the cameras and action in Herald Square.

Santa arrives at the end of the parade to officially kick off the holiday season. The little girl in the white hat is starring in the current Macy's holiday commercial - she's a ringer for a young Natalie Woods from "Miracle on 34th Street." She was thrilled to be asked to be in the parade, especially as she still believes in Santa and got to sit right next to him in his sleigh. Talk about a memory to last a lifetime.

For us clowns, the parade ends where it began at the New Yorker hotel. It's now about 10:30, so Jazz's Mom and my mom change out of their costumes, wipe off their clown makeup with baby oil (yuk!) and hop a cab back uptown for some pancakes!

Look who we passed as we drove through Columbus Circle. It reminded Mommy of the Sta-Puf Marshmellow Man in Ghostbusters!

Home for a nap and a nice walk around the neighborhood — it was nearly 60 degrees in New York! Then Mom headed out for dinner with a group of friends who've spent Thanksgiving together for the last 16 years. (This was Mom's 8th!) Everyone brings something and it is all soooo delicious. We had a big crowd this year which called for a whopping 25 pound turkey!

Our host and hostess live in a penthouse apartment directly across the street from the Empire State Building. They have a ginormous deck and just look at the view!!!

In case you felt that I was neglected on Thanksgiving, fear not! I had this delicious carob-coated cookie from my pal Bear. Mommy barely got a snapshot of it before I gobble-gobbled it up.

And look! There were even leftovers the next day!!!

Thanks to everyone who has been so great about passing along the "Blessings" award! If the wing of a butterfly can cause a hurricane on the other side of the globe, just imagine what the world would be liked if every being knew they were a blessing to someone else. So please - keep it going until every doggie, kitty cat and hammie knows that they are blessed. That's my Thanksgiving prayer.


Deborah said...

This was awesome.
I believe!
My family and I were discussing who the little girl was...I said the manager's daughter, my son said the owner's daughter, my daughter said Santa's granddaughter.. Now we know. We love Santa and it is tradition in our home to wave at him every Thanksgiving (call us crazy, but it is fun) My eyes fill with tears every year when I see Santa in the Macy's parade and I don't even know why. How special it must be to be in the parade! This was a great post! Thank you!

NAK and The Residents of The Khottage Now With KhattleDog! said...

Tank woo fur taking us behind the scenes!

That was khwite a pawesome report!


Hamish Westie said...

Hi Petey
Thanks very much for your excellent report. It was almost as good as being ther myself - no, better in fact, I think I would have found all those clowns and huge balloons and crowds of people rather scary.
Cheers, H.

Clive said...


We loved that post so much. Murray and me got to read it just before he left for school this morning and he was so excited as his Mom read down through it all and showed him the photos!

He was thrilled at seeing Father Christmas - that's the real one - he told us!

That was such a great report Murray's Mom is going to have another read through it again now with a fresh cup of coffee. Thanks again Petey to your Mom for sharing her adventures with us - it was fantastic to read!

love and woofs
Clive and Murray

Rocky Creek Scotties and Rocky Creek Ramblings said...

What an awesome day your Mom had - we loved seeing all of the pictures and our Mom is slightly envious - she has always wanted to help or be in a large parade like that.

And we have to agree - everyday is a blessing and so are our blog furiends.

Lilly, Piper, Carrleigh and Java

The Adventures of the LLB Gang said...

WOW Petey that was a great inside look into the parade!! Mama lived in NJ for 20+ years and never knew that much!!


Gus said...

Thank you for showing us "the rest of the story." We love reading about your adventures in new Yawk, having you and Asta and Duffy for friends makes us feel very cosmopolitan.


Jake of Florida said...


Thanks for taking us behind the scenes. We've watched the parade every year -- except for those years when Mom was in Paris and we weren't even born -- and always wondered how things get organized.

Now we know a part of it.

We haven;'t been blessed by name yet, but we feel blessed anyway to know you and all of our DWB pals!!

Wirey love,

Jake and Just Harry

Noah the Airedale said...

Oh wow that is all so amazing. Your mum looks awesome in her outfit. It really is such a huge event. Gosh we had no idea.
Is the 'I Believe' song the one Savage Garden sing? If it is D loves that song.

Thanks for sharing your photos with us.

Noah Willow Tess Lucy

Eric said...

WOW!!! What an event. Thanks Petey and your Mom for showing us all the behind the scenes stuffie. Really interesting. And to take part in the parade must be wagging.Mom looked fab!

Wiry loves and kisses from your bestie (who will soon be like the unblown up balloons!!) xx

Agatha and Archie said...

Too much fun..It reminds PL2 of being a little kid and flying to the tv to watch the parade......Maybe we dogs should participate? I nominate Archie to be a balloon...Love A+A

Joe Stains said...

oh that parade looks so fun, I think we probably said the same thing last year!! :) Your Mom must really love it unless it is freezing cold! Glad she had such a fun thanksgiving.

Dexter said...

Parades are great fun! There are hardly any good ones in Master Chew Sits anymore. We will just have to enjoy yours.


Lorenza said...

Hi, Petey!
I love your post too!
Sure it is pawesome to go behind the scenes!
Kisses and hugs

Sunny,Scooter, (sometimes Jamie) said...

An insider's look at the parade. sooo cool. Mom was a bitput out as it seemed Al Roker was doing "commercials" for the different shows on the networks. Then they would show a smidgen of the parade..HELLO it's a parade, anyhow she always loves seeing Santa atthe end. Mom loves Santa.
Good that you got great cookies and leftovers!!!
We are thankful for friends like y'all!

Scruffy, Lacie and Stanley's Place said...


Excellent behind the scenes reporting, Petey...oh my...we ADORE hearing all those makes us feel like we were there in person...!!!

Um...that cookie ya got was so NOT ENUFF compared to the feast your mom assertive, dear boy and DEMAND YOUR FAIR SHARE!!!

That Pillsberry dough boy balloon was terrifying...every time I see one of his commercials I leap at the TV...sheesch...

Kisses, Petey...


Scruffy, Lacie and Stanley's Place said...

Hey Petey...we saw this like

GINORMOUS LAKELAND BUTT in the parade when we were watchin' tv that morning...

Did ya see it???

It looks like they waaaaay overinflated it...

Heard they had to start on Labor Day to fill it up....

Wonder who the model was????


Scruff and Stan