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37 Facts You Probably Never Knew About The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

They used to release the balloons at the end of the Parade. Yes, seriously.

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The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is a huge part of our holiday tradition, but there's a ton of work that goes on behind the scenes every year to make it happen.

Keely Flaherty / BuzzFeed

We visited the Macy's Parade Studio in Moonachie, New Jersey to learn how the floats and balloons are made, and just how many costumes it takes to dress the parade participants. (Spoiler: It's a whopping 4,000.)

1. The first Parade in 1924 was called “Macy’s Christmas Parade” although it took place on Thanksgiving Day. It was renamed in 1927.

2. Live animals — including lions, bears, tigers, camels, goats, elephants, and donkeys — were a part of the original Parade processions.

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18. To deal with the helium shortage, Macy’s experimented early on with helium reclamation: The process of taking helium out of the Parade balloons and re-pressurizing it.

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25. From 1929 until 1931, the balloons were let go at the end of the Parade. If you found the balloon, you could return it to Macy’s for a $50 gift certificate.

27. Each balloon starts with two identical plastic molds. One stays white with all the technical drawings (inflation ports, deflation ports, where security lines are attached, etc.), and the other one gets painted the exact color the real balloon will be.

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29. An immense amount of research goes into each float and balloon, for example the Stone Forest Mountain that will appear on the China float this year was recreated in painstaking detail.

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