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Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade 2012: Where to Watch, Parade Route and Schedule

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching, and millions of Americans will tune in to see the 86th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade takes place in the streets of New York City, beginning at 9 a.m. on Thursday, November 22. Thousands will flock to city to see the parade in person and witness a plethora of acts, including talented marching bands, celebrity performers, and giant helium balloons. Thousands more will watch the parade from their homes.

How did this event become such an integral part of our culture?

The parade, originally called the "Macy’s Christmas Parade,”dates back to its inaugural season of 1924. In 1927, the event was renamed to the “Thanksgiving Day Parade.” In November of 1924, a group of Macy’s employees collaborated together to organize the first parade. Horses were used to pull the floats, and a variety of zoo animals traveled along the parade route. Giant helium balloons were introduced in 1927, including Felix the Cat and the Toy Soldier. The parade’s original route began at 145th Street and Convent Avenue, and concluded in front of the Macy’s store at Herald Square.

This year’s lineup includes a variety of characters and performance acts. Spectators can expect to see giant balloons of Spongebob Squarepants, Kermit the Frog, Kung Fu Panda, and the Aflac Duck.The parade also includes the nation's most talented marching bands, from high school, university, and professional levels. As for celebrity appearances, Macy’s will not release the official list until tomorrow, but last year’s event included performances from Mary J. Blige, Avril Lavigne, Cee Lo Green, Neil Diamond, and American Idol winner Scotty McCreery.

All parade participants will begin their route at 77th Street and Central Park West. The route will continue down over 40 blocks along 6th Avenue, and end at the Macy’s of Herald Square. Following parade tradition, an appearance from Santa will conclude the parade and kick off the holiday season.

For those wishing to witness the parade in person, the best places to watch will be between 59th and 75th Street or further along 6th Avenue. It is best to arrive early to in order to get a good view. Some even enjoy watching the parade the night before, to see the inflation of the giant balloons.

As ror the millions of Americans who will be watching from home, they can tune in at 9 a.m. on Thursday to CBS or the parade’s official broadcaster, NBC. Macy’s has launched an official “Macy’s Parade” app available at the iTunes app store. Fans will receive updates and facts about the exciting event come Thursday.

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