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The classic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has been watched by millions of New York residents and millions more on television. 

After an audience-free parade in 2020, Will Coss parade executive said this years parade is returning as a celebration of “culture, love and spectacle.”

Broadway will be showcased with performances from musicals “Six,” “Moulin Rouge!” and “Wicked,” as well as a sneak preview of NBC’s “Annie Live!” and the Radio City Rockettes.

Baby Yoda steals the show:Baby Yoda balloon debuts ahead of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Here’s what to know:Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 2021 to return to its pre-pandemic form.

“It’s back, and we’re excited to bring it back to the streets of New York City in its full form, in the way that audiences have grown to know and love us,” said Coss. “It’s going to be a really exciting day, and we’re really just elated to have the opportunity to bring it back in its true form.”

Before the glitz and dozens of floats, Macy’s Day Parade had humble beginnings in the 1920’s. So what was the first Macy’s Day Parade like?

The Elf on the Shelf balloon floats during a past Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York in New York. The pandemic may have upended most traditions this holiday season but the annual New York City parade will still march on with balloons, dancers, floats, Broadway shows and Santa.

In 1924, Macy’s held its first parade but instead of focusing on Thanksgiving it was called Macy’s Christmas Parade. The parade was held just by store employees and the hope was the celebration would influence customers to shop for the coming Christmas holiday. The first parade started at 9 a.m. and followed a six-mile route from Harlem to Herald Square, according to History.

The first Macy’s parade’s floats featured characters from popular nursery rhymes which matched the Christmas display at Macy’s flagship store. The rhymes featured were the Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe, Little Miss Muffet and Little Red Riding Hood, according to History.

Live animals from the Central Park Zoo were used on floats in the early parades and the first balloon wasn’t used until 1927, when Felix the Cat made it’s debut.

Macy’s parade history: Key facts from Christmas, Thanksgiving Day parades

  • The first Mickey Mouse balloon came out of a partnership with Macy’s and Walt Disney in 1934.
  • The Macy’s Parade didn’t reach national TV screens until 1947 and in the 1940’s all balloons were deflated and donated to help with World War II rubber supplies. 
  • Although this year’s floats will feature Baby Yoda and popular Disney characters, Snoopy is the parade character with the most balloons in the parade’s history. 
  • But was the Macy’s Parade ever canceled? World War II halted the parade celebrations in 1942, 1943 and 1944. 
  • In 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the world and most events, the Macy’s Day Parade continued just without a live audience.

Follow Gabriela Miranda on Twitter: @itsgabbymiranda