The moment the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade finishes making its way down Central Park West, the hard-working design team is waiting at the finish line, ready to pack away an entire year’s worth of work.
“As soon as a parade is over, it’s like, ‘OK, let’s get these ready for the next parade, because we’re on a clock here!” John Piper, VP of the Macy’s Parade Studio, joked as we took a tour of the company’s New Jersey warehouse earlier this month.
The famed balloon floats, which have come in the form of Big Bird, Spider-Man, Snoopy, and other notable characters, are arguably the most iconic part of the parade. The night before, thousands of New Yorkers go to the Upper West Side to watch them be inflated.
“It’s become the largest non-event event in New York,” Piper said.
But after their short time out in the wild, the balloons are deflated and taken back to the parade warehouse to spend the remainder of the year in a surprisingly small hamper.
Although some of the balloons are as tall as a five-story building, Piper’s team dismantles them with ease.
“That’s the easy part! You take the helium out of them, and you roll them up,” Piper said.
The hampers are put onto a rack in the warehouse, where they wait to be prepared for the following year’s parade.
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