Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is as big part of the Thanksgiving holiday as football and turkey. Across the nation, approximately 50 million people tune in to watch the parade every year while 3.5 million New Yorkers watch it live. Did you know the first ever Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade started over 90 years ago in 1924? Originally the parade was held to celebrate Macy’s grand opening of the “World’s Largest Store” with 1 million square feet of shopping retail. The parade was meant to create buzz about the store in time for the Christmas holiday shopping season. Nobody could have guessed that it would start a holiday tradition nearly a century later. Over the years, however, there have been a number of accidents associated with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons. The Weather Channel gave us a list of the worst balloon accidents in this holiday tradition event.

Popeye the Sailor, 1957

Photo provider by The Weather Channel
Photo provider by The Weather Channel

The float of Popeye the Sailor gave the crowd an unexpected surprise on November 28, 1957. Rainfall has collected on top of Popeye and when he started to float up in the air the freezing cold water began to slosh around. People watching the parade were caught in the splash zone and greeted with gallons of freezing cold rain water.

Kermit the Frog, 1985


Kermit the Frog ran into trouble on November 28th when his belly got caught on a tree and was punctured. The results was a giant green frog slowly deflating to the ground as millions watched. Kermit had to be carried away by its handlers afterwards.

Raggedy-Ann, 1986

People misjudge parade floats. We think that just because they are filled with helium that they weight next to nothing. In1986, Raggedy-Ann proved us wrong when she crashed into a lamppost causing her to split in half and send the post crashing down to the ground. Thankfully nobody needed to call a personal injury lawyer since nobody was hurt.

Superman, 1986

Photo provided by The Weather Channel

The same year that Raggedy-Ann nearly injured a crowd of people with a lamppost, Superman was defeated by a tree. When the Superman float got snagged on a tree branch it ripped its arm completely off! Not the best sight to see when you are trying to enjoy a parade with friends and family.

Sonic the Hedgehog, 1993

Photo provided by The Weather Channel
Photo provided by The Weather Channel

An off-duty NYPD officer suffered a broken shoulder when Sonic the Hedgehog crashed into a lamppost and landed on the officer. Sonic the Hedgehog is a popular video game character that rivals the popularity of Super Mario. I imagine the officer’s family was on the phone with an accident attorney by the next day.

Barney, 1994 and 1997

On two separate occasions, the purple T-rex caused trouble for its handlers. In 1994, Barney broke free altogether when a gust of wind caught the dinosaur and pulled it straight out of their hands. It took the help of the NYPD to wrangle the rouge float. In 1997, Barney was stabbed to death by parade officials in an attempt to stop Barney from crashing into a lamppost after another balloon float had crashed.

Felix the Cat, 1927

Photo provided by The Weather Channel
Photo provided by The Weather Channel

Felix the Cat was the first official Macy’s Day Parade balloon, and he was also the first inflated causality in the parade’s ongoing history. The accident happened when Felix got tangled in telephone wires and caught on fire!

Cat in the Hat, 1997

Known as one of the worst, and largest, balloon accidents the parade’s history involved the Cat in the Hat and Barney. The Cat crashed into a lamppost and destroyed itself when the lamppost punched a hole in the balloon. Officials tried to prevent Barney from suffering a similar fate and proceeded to stable it until it was deflated and carried away safely by its handlers. I’d imagine the children weren’t too thrilled at the sight of their childhood heroes being stabbed to out of air.

Photo provided by The Weather Channel

Buzz Lightyear, 2012

The most recent parade accident to date. Toy Story’s own Buzz Lightyear ended up floating in a river after his helmet sustained a major tear. The accident put one of the balloon handlers in the hospital and even made the New York Daily News.

Photo provided by The Weather Channel

Jeff is Here 4 You

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident Jeff is here for you! Davis Law Firm is here 24/7, through the holidays, to listen to your case. Our team of legal representatives offer free consultation at zero cost to you. Don’t let an accident ruin your holiday season, contact us today!