I’ve shared oh so many times with you that I was signed up to walk in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I was beyond ecstatic and I couldn’t keep it to myself. You’ll be happy to know, it’s over and you won’t have to hear about it anymore.
You’re totally going to have to. I have loads of content to share with you in regards to the actual parade. It’s going to take me a bit to get all of that organized, but I had to write something about it.
The day was magical.
Seriously. No exaggeration. It’s really one of the only reasons I’ll voluntarily wake up at 5am, run to the subway before 6am, and stand outside all day in weather that feels like 5 degrees Fahrenheit. I’d 100% do it all again.
Growing up, we watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade every year. Since we are one hour behind NYC, the parade started at 8am. I rarely woke up that early, but it was always recorded or already playing when I did wake up. My dream was just to go to the parade and watch it live. Instead, my first experience was walking in it. To have your childhood dream one upped by your own self? It’s pretty extraordinary.
I’ll start by saying this was the coldest Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade on record. The real feel was 5 degrees Fahrenheit and the winds were atrocious. Eventually our bodies just went numb, but it’s fine.
Once we found our way through the blocked off streets and sidewalks to the part of the parade everyone knows, AKA the end where the shows and live broadcast is, I cried. Yes, some of it was due to the freezing wind stabbing at my eyes, but even if there wasn’t any wind and it was 75 degrees, I still would have had salt water falling down my face.
We got to the building where we needed to report to get our costumes and every single person we came in contact with was SO friendly. Like – abnormally friendly, but in an amazing way. I don’t know if Macy’s threatens them with being in a room trapped with open sardine cans or they really do love the experience that much, but it works.
We got dressed, drank some water, and ventured to a bus that carted us all the way to the parade route start. Here, we had to wait forever. We were all getting delirious and on the brink of hypothermia, but we survived. Shout out to Andy for the best awful coffee ever and your tiny little convenience shop that probably never sees business outside of parade day.
Also, shout out to the woman who gave us the leash to her dog and got a photo of all of us with her pooch. Thanks for trusting the weirdos dressed as a red Power Ranger enough not to run off with her. We’d be lying if we said we didn’t think about it. If you happen to stumble across this post, can you send me that picture? Thanks. 🙂
My partner, his sister, and I were assigned the Red Mighty Morphin Power Ranger balloon. This ended up being the longest balloon in the entire parade and had 90 handlers assigned to it. Apparently, one of this guys legs/arms are 45 feet long (AKA, a school bus).
The time finally came to un-net the balloons and everyone take their positions. A little birdy told us not to race to grab a bone to be an actual “handler.”
That little birdy was right. My partner’s sister and I casually chilled to the side and there ended up being more people than bones. Darn.
This ended up being the best decision I’ve ever made in my life. Again, not exaggerating. This meant I got to jump up and down, dance around, and interact with the crowds through the entire parade route. Technically, I was supposed to be available to be a sub if someone wanted it, but I took my job as hype-woman very seriously.
I did, however, hold someone’s spot while she used the bathroom before the parade started. I’m not gonna lie, just holding the leg of this balloon was a bitch. I thought I was going to ruin the parade before it even began. I happily gave the balloon back and thanked the rest of the handlers for being the MVPs of the parade…it’s not an easy job.
Have you ever wondered what it felt like to be a rock star when they walk the edge of the stage and high five everyone? I now know what that feels like. IT’S THE COOLEST FEELING EVER. Kids, adults, grandparents – they all want a piece of your high five action. Fear not, I made sure nobody was left out.
Also – to the couple I tried to photo bomb their selfie that didn’t speak English: super sorry for the weird encounter…
I don’t think I’ve ever smiled and laughed and felt genuinely and extremely happy for that long of a time as I did the day I walked in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It might sound crazy to some, but it was a childhood dream come true magnified by 10.
At the end of the parade, everyone teams together to deflate and roll the balloon so it can fit in a crate and be sent back to the warehouse.
I didn’t participate. Shhhh. I went in to McDonald’s, used their bathroom, and got 4 chicken nuggets with a diet coke. It was almost noon, I’d been up since 5, and burned about 10,000 calories (OK – that was an exaggeration, but barely)…I was hungry.
Once we turned in our costumes, we got these pins to remember we walked in the parade. Ha! Like I’ll ever forget it. I’m pretty sure I’ll be 75 with Alzheimer’s telling my children/grandchildren the same story over and over again because it’s the only one I remember out of my life. Sorry to the rest of anyone who is significant to me, it’s nothing personal.
So, my partner had a different experience than me because he actually held the balloon and did the dirty work. I’ll share that in a later post with you all. I just HAD to share a little bit about my experience and how much fun I had.
Stay tuned for more!
Did you watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade? What was your favorite balloon? Is it one of your loved annual traditions like it is mine? Comment below!
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