2018 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade by The Numbers

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is something many Americans look forward to every year. Not only does it kick off the start of the holiday season, but it also features impressive balloons as tall as some of the buildings in New York City, performances by award-winning artists and dancers, awe-inspiring floats, and more. And, this year’s festivities are sure to be just as exciting as year’s past.

When it comes down to it, the parade takes a lot of planning, coordinating, and hard work — and the numbers show that. To get a better idea of how much goes into the day’s events, here is Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade by the numbers.

The Elf on the Shelf balloon
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade by the numbers show just how much work it takes to put the festivities together. | iStock.com/Gordon Donovan

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade by the numbers

A lot goes into pulling off the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. From making the balloons to transporting the floats to the number of volunteers it takes to parade each float down Sixth Avenue, we are Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade by the numbers, ahead.

2.65: The parade route in miles

The parade route might not seem that long, but it’s actually around 2.65 miles long. It starts at Central Park West on 77th street and ends in Herald Square by Macy’s 24th street entrance.

15: The number of Balloonicles

Along with the giant balloons, 15 Balloonicles will also be featured in this year’s parade. Balloonicles are hybrid balloons — some of which make their way down Sixth Avenue via bicycle and others via roller wheels. This year’s attractions include a seven-piece bowling Balloonicle (six pins and one large bowling ball), a bulldog on a bike, The Aflac Duck, and Mouse King.

15: The number of minutes it takes each balloon to deflate

Despite the extended time it takes to inflate the Macy’s balloons, each one only takes about 15 minutes to deflate. After the parade it over, handlers unzip the sides of the balloons and let as much air out as possible. Then, they lay on top of the material to get any more air out before rolling everything up and placing it in storage.

25: The number of years Ronald McDonald and Red Mighty Morphin Power Ranger have appeared in the parade

Believe it or not, some of the balloons in the Macy’s parade are even older than Ronald McDonald and Red Mighty Morphin Power Ranger. This year marks the balloons’ 25th consecutive appearances.

31: The number of floats in this year’s parade

According to Macy’s website, there are 31 floats in this year’s festivities. Not every float features a performance or celebrity appearance, but each one is guaranteed to entertain.

33: The number of giant balloons

While some of the balloons — such as the four sets of Macy’s stars — are lumped together as one unit, there are 33 giant balloons total. Some of this year’s balloons include classics like Dino, Ronald McDonald, and Red Mighty Morphin Power Range, along with newcomers like Goku from Dragon Ball and Fleck, Bjorn, Jojo, and Hugg from Netflix’s film The Christmas Chronicles.

90: The number of minutes it takes to inflate each balloon

Thanks to their size and the amount of helium required, each balloon takes about an hour and 30 minutes (or, 90 minutes total) to inflate. Balloon inflation is done the night before the parade along Central Park West.

90: The number of handlers some balloons require

In order to get the balloons down Sixth Avenue, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade requires a lot of volunteers — aka, balloon handlers. For the most part, the balloons require either 40 or 90 handlers each, but most are closer to 90.

92: The number of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parades

2018 marks 92 years of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parades. The tradition started back in 1924 and has become a staple in American Thanksgiving holiday festivities ever since.

120: The minimum weight (in pounds) each handler must weigh

Because the balloons can lift around 750 pounds, handlers have to weigh a certain amount. According to several sources, all balloon handlers have to be considered healthy — after all, they are marching giant balloons down the street — and must weigh at least 120 pounds.

500: The number of cheerleaders that join the Big City Cheer! Float

Expect to see over 500 cheerleaders surrounding the Big City Cheer! Float. According to Macy’s teen leaders from across the United States gather on and around the float to cheer on paradegoers and spread the holiday spirit.

750: The number of pounds each balloon can lift

Given the amount of helium in each Macy’s balloon, the floating sculptures can actually lift a significant amount of weight. According to some reports, the average weight a Macy’s balloon can carry in 750 pounds.

1,000: The number of clowns featured in this year’s parade

If you hate clowns, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is probably not for you. This year’s festivities include around 1,000 clowns.

12,000: The amount of helium (in cubic square feet) needed for each balloon

While it varies per balloon, the average amount of helium used to blow up the Macy’s balloons is around 12,000 square feet.

190,000: The cost of one balloon

The Macy’s balloons are expensive. In fact, it costs a company around $190,000 for the first year — this includes the cost of designing and making the structure — and $90,000 for consecutive years.

50,000,000: The number of people that watch the parade on television

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a tradition in many households and, as a result, over 50 million people tune in every year to witness the festivities.

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