2013 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting

Photo: Courtesy of Tishman Speyer-Photographer Bart Barlow

It’s that time of year! The lighting of the world famous Rockefeller Center Christmas tree!

NBC will celebrate the lighting of the world’s most famous Christmas tree with a live broadcast from Rockefeller Center in New York City on Wednesday, Dec. 4 (8-9 p.m. ET). The star-studded holiday special is hosted by “Today” anchors Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker and Natalie Morales, and will feature performances from Mary J. Blige, Toni Braxton, Mariah Carey, Kelly Clarkson, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Goo Goo Dolls, Ariana Grande and Jewel.

The 81st annual holiday extravaganza will feature a 76-foot Norway Spruce that is 47 feet in diameter and weighs approximately 12 tons. The tree is estimated to be about 75 years old. More than 45,000 energy-efficient multi-colored LED lights will be strung to decorate the tree, topped with a 9 ½ foot wide LED-lit Swarovski crystal star.

The tradition of the Rockefeller Christmas tree dates back to the Great Depression. First erected in 1933, the inaugural tree was decked with 700 lights and placed in front of the then eight-month-old RCA Building (the current GE Building). The Christmas tree gathering was enhanced in 1936 with the opening of the Rockefeller Plaza outdoor ice-skating pond. NBC-TV televised the tree lighting for the first time in 1951 on “The Kate Smith Show” and as part of the nationwide “Howdy Doody” television show from 1953-55.

Prior to this year’s primetime telecast, an additional live hour of the special (7-8 p.m. ET) will be broadcast by the following NBC stations: WNBC/New York; WCAU/Philadelphia; KSNV/Las Vegas; WBBH/Fort Myers, Fla.; KHNL/Honolulu, Hawaii; WNWO/Toledo, Ohio; WTWC/Tallahassee, Fla.; WVIR/Charlottesville, Va., WETM/Elmira, N.Y.; WGBC/Meridian, Miss.; KHBC/Hilo, Hawaii; and KOGG/Wailuku, Hawaii.

“Christmas in Rockefeller Center” is produced by Brad Lachman Productions with Lachman serving as executive producer. Bill Bracken will produce.


Matt Lauer — Matt Lauer has been co-anchor of NBC News’ “Today” since January 6, 1997. He joined “Today” in January 1994 as the show’s news anchor. From September 1992 to September 1996, Lauer was at WNBC in New York City where he served as a co-anchor of the early morning newscast “Today in New York” and as a co-anchor of the early evening newscast “News Channel 4/Live at Five.” He began substituting on “Today” as a news anchor in early 1993 before becoming the permanent news anchor in 1994. Prior to joining WNBC, Lauer hosted a daily, live, three-hour interview program, “9 Broadcast Plaza,” in New York from 1989 to 1991. Before that, his experience included hosting a number of weekly information and talk programs in Boston, Philadelphia, Providence and Richmond. Lauer began his career in 1979 as a producer of the noon news on WOWK in Huntington, West Virginia. In 1980, he was a reporter on the station’s 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts. Lauer is a graduate of Ohio University. He lives in New York with his wife, Annette Roque Lauer, their sons, Jack and Thijs, and daughter, Romy. Follow Lauer on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/mlauer

Savannah Guthrie — Savannah Guthrie is the co-anchor of NBC News’ “Today” and also serves as NBC News Chief Legal Correspondent. Prior to joining “Today,” Guthrie served as NBC News White House Correspondent from December 2008 to June 2011 where she contributed to all NBC News properties, including “NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams,” “Today” and MSNBC. Guthrie also served as co-host of MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown” from January 2010 to June 2011. In 2002, Guthrie received her Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center, where she graduated magna cum laude. She was a member of Order of the Coif and received the International Academy of Trial Lawyers’ Student Advocacy Award for her work with victims of domestic violence. She graduated cum laude from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism in 1993. She received the top score on the Arizona Bar Exam in 2002. Follow Guthrie on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SavannahGuthrie

Al Roker — Al Roker has been the weather and feature anchor on NBC News’ “Today” since January 1996. He’s also co-host of “Wake Up with Al” on the Weather Channel. Until January of 2000, Roker also served as the weekday weather forecaster for News Channel 4’s early evening newscast Live at 5 on WNBC-TV, NBC’s flagship owned and operated station in New York City. New York magazine has twice named Roker Best Weatherman. He is a recipient of the American Meteorological Society’s prestigious Seal of Approval and has been a pioneer in the use of computer graphics for weathercasting. In 1994, Roker founded Al Roker Entertainment, Inc. (ARE), a thriving multimedia company involved in the development and production of network, cable, home video, and public television projects. Roker is a bestselling author, with his most recent book, “Never Goin’ Back: Winning the Weight-Loss Battle For Good,” available now. Raised in Queens, N.Y., Roker received his B.A. in communications from the State University at Oswego in 1976, and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the school in 1998. He resides in Manhattan with his wife, ABC News 20/20 Correspondent Deborah Roberts, and has two daughters and one son. Follow Roker on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/alroker

Natalie Morales — Natalie Morales is the news anchor of NBC News’ “Today” and the co-host of the third hour. Prior to her role as news anchor, Morales served as “Today” national correspondent from February 2006 to June 2011. Morales also served as a national correspondent for all NBC News platforms including “NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams,” Dateline NBC,” and MSNBC, and still continues to report across the NBC News Group. Morales, who speaks Spanish and Portuguese, was born in Taiwan and spent much of the first 18 years of her life living overseas in Panama, Brazil and Spain as an Air Force “brat.” She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rutgers University, New Jersey, with dual majors in journalism and Latin American studies. Morales was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and graduated Suma Cum Laude. She currently resides in New Jersey with her husband and two sons. Follow Morales on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nmoralesNBC


Mary J. Blige – Iconic Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter, actress and philanthropist, Mary J. Blige is a figure of inspiration, transformation and empowerment making Blige one of the defining voices of the contemporary music era. With a track record of eight multi-platinum albums, nine Grammy Awards (plus a staggering 29 nominations), a 2012 Golden Globe nomination, and four American Music Awards, Blige is a global superstar. And in the ensuing years, the singer/songwriter has attracted an intensely loyal fan base—responsible for propelling worldwide sales of more than 50 million albums. In October 2013, Blige for Matriarch Records/Verve Records/Interscope Records released her 11th studio album titled “A Mary Christmas,” making it her first-ever holiday album and collaboration with legendary producer and Chairman of The Verve Music Group, David Foster. Blige’s holiday album features her soulful interpretation of classic holiday tunes including “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” and “The Christmas Song.” Blige is joined by a number of A-list guests, starting with Barbra Streisand, who duets with Blige on “When You Wish Upon A Star,” along with Jessie J on “Do You Hear What I Hear.” The Clark Sisters join Blige on “The First Noel,” and “Noche de Paz” is a Spanish collaboration with Mark Anthony. Next, Blige will star as Platinum Fro, a mysterious guardian angel in the Kasi Lemmon-directed “Black Nativity,” a contemporary adaptation of Langston Hughes’ 1961 play. The holiday musical film drama will hit theatres in November 27, 2013 with an all-star cast including Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Jennifer Hudson, and Tyrese Gibson.

Toni Braxton – The distinctive, sultry vocals of six-time Grammy Award-winning recording artist Toni Braxton – singer, songwriter, record producer, and philanthropist – have been celebrated internationally ever since she was first introduced to the world by Babyface and L.A. Reid in 1992. Her self-titled debut album released the next year was a 10 million-selling phenomenon that generated Braxton’s first Grammys in 1994, for Best New Artist and Best Female R&B Vocal (“Another Sad Love Song”). The album’s longevity led Braxton to win her second Best Female R&B Vocal Grammy the following year (for “Breathe Again”). Her second album, “Secrets,” arrived in 1996, and history repeated itself with 15 million worldwide sales. At the Grammy Awards in 1997, Braxton became only the second woman in history (beside Dionne Warwick) to win Best Female Pop Vocal (“Un-break My Heart”) and Best Female R&B Vocal (“You’re Makin’ Me High”) in the same year. She returned to the Grammy podium in 2001 to claim another Best Female R&B Vocal award (“He Wasn’t Man Enough,” from the double-platinum album “The Heat”). Into the millennium, Braxton blossomed into an acting career with Broadway musical roles in “Beauty and the Beast” and “Aida,” and a dramatic turn in the Lifetime movie “Twist of Faith.” She and her sisters currently enjoy huge success in “Braxton Family Values,” one of WE tv’s flagship reality series, which returns for a fourth season in November 2013. Raising her two sons Denim and Diezel, Braxton balances her career demands with the high priorities of family, heath, public service, and charity work, particularly on behalf of the two diseases that have impacted her family directly – she is living with Lupus and her youngest child is living with Autism. Early detection and intervention has helped both Braxtons to be role models on how to live normal lives with these conditions. Braxton is also a proud spokesperson for Autism Speaks. She and Babyface will release “Love, Marriage & Divorce,” their first album of duets together, in February 2014.

Mariah Carey – Mariah Carey is the best-selling female artist of all time with more than 200 million albums sold and a ground-breaking career total of 224 #1 Billboard hits, including an unprecedented 18 #1 Hot 100 singles – the most of any solo artist in history. Her brand new single, “#Beautiful,” a collaboration with Miguel, has won critical raves and is already #1 in over 30 countries and a certified radio smash. “#Beautiful” is the lead single from Carey’s new album for Island Def Jam Music Group. With her world renowned voice and her award-winning songwriting and producing, she has clearly earned her place at the top of music’s pantheon. As a singer/songwriter/producer, she has been recognized with five Grammy Awards, nine American Music Awards, Billboard’s “Artist of the Decade” Award, the World Music Award for “World’s Best Selling Female Artist of the Millennium,” and BMI’s “Icon Award” for her outstanding achievements in songwriting, to name a few. Carey’s ongoing impact transcends the music industry to leave an indelible imprint upon the world at large. A Congressional Award recipient, Carey has generously donated her time and energy to a range of philanthropic causes near to her heart including Save the Music, The Make-A-Wish Foundation, World Hunger Relief, and the Elton John Aids Foundation, among many others. A tremendous supporter of children’s charities, both domestic and international, Carey, in partnership with the Fresh Air Fund founded Camp Mariah, a retreat for inner city children to explore career development.

Kelly Clarkson — Grammy Award winner Kelly Clarkson has released five studio albums (“Thankful,” “Breakaway,” “My December,” “All I Ever Wanted,” “Stronger”), one Greatest Hits album, sold over 20 million albums worldwide, 10 million albums in the U.S. and has had 10 singles in the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart. She is the recipient of three Grammy Awards, four American Music Awards, three MTV Video Music Awards, two Academy of Country Music Awards, one Country Music Association Award and 12 Billboard Music Awards. Clarkson’s last studio effort “Stronger” debuted at #2 on both the Billboard Top 200 and Digital Albums Chart. The album produced the smash singles, “Mr. Know It All” and “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” which marks Clarkson’s 9th and 10th Top 10 hit. “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” was #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 Chart for two consecutive weeks (three weeks total) marking her third #1 on the Hot 100 chart. Clarkson’s “Stronger” was certified Platinum by the R.I.A.A. and won the Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Album. She spent the summer touring with Maroon 5 and recording her very first Christmas album, “Wrapped In Red,” which was released in October and features five original tracks as well as some Christmas favorites. Clarkson was recently nominated for two CMA Awards as well as two ACA Awards.

Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds — Ten time Grammy Award-winning recording artist Kenny ‘Babyface’ Edmonds has been revolutionizing the contemporary pop/Urban music landscape ever since scoring consecutive multi-platinum landmark albums with “Tender Lover” (1989), “For the Cool in You” (1993) and “The Day” (1996). Edmonds is the recipient of numerous awards, including Soul Train Music Awards, BMI Awards, NAACP Image Awards, and American Music Awards. He received the third BET Walk of Fame Award (following previous honorees Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston), BET’s Entertainer of the Year at the First Annual BET Awards, and most recently was honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Edmonds’ caring and generosity has earned him several accolades, including the Essence Award for Excellence, The City of Hope Award and Variety Magazine’s “Top of the Town” Award. As co-founder with L.A. Reid of Atlanta’s LaFace Records in 1989, Edmonds nurtured the careers of megastars TLC, OutKast, Goodie Mob, Usher, and Toni Braxton. Into the ’90s and ’00s, Edmonds lent his talents to an abundance of hits with other artists, resulting in more than 125 Top 10 R&B and pop hits, 42 R&B #1 hits, and 51 Top 10 Pop hits (including 16 #1’s) under his belt, which have generated cumulative single and album sales of more than 500 million units worldwide. Most recent production work with other artists includes Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion, Keri Hilson, Ledisi, Ariana Grande and Aretha Franklin. Babyface is also an active touring artist, performing concerts across the U.S. and around the world on a regular basis. He and Toni Braxton will release “Love, Marriage & Divorce,” their first album of duets together, in February 2014.

Goo Goo Dolls – Multi-platinum, Grammy-nominated Goo Goo Dolls recently released their 10th studio album, “Magnetic.” The album debuted at #8 on the Billboard Top 200 Chart, and their new single, “Come To Me,” is Top 20 and on the air in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Washington DC, Atlanta, Boston, Seattle and many more. The Buffalo trio celebrated the album’s release with a performance on “Good Morning America,” and they have recently appeared on “The Tonight Show,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “Live with Kelly & Michael,” “CBS Saturday Morning,” “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” and “Rachael Ray.” Goo Goo Dolls have sold over 10 million albums worldwide, with 14 Top 10 Radio hits, more than any other artist in the history of the Hot AC format. They are the only artist to have three songs on Billboard’s “Top 100 Songs from 1992-2012” including the Number One slot, for “Iris.” John Rzeznik has been honored with the Songwriters Hall of Fame Hal David Starlight Award and they have been inducted into Guitar Center’s Historic Hollywood Rock Walk.

Ariana Grande – Ariana Grande has become a bona fide pop phenomenon. 2x-platinum single “The Way” initially debuted Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and seized the #1 spot on iTunes Overall Songs Chart as soon as it was released. Meanwhile, the track also resonated immensely with the Latin audience. The single’s Spanish version climbed to #5 at Latin Radio, showing that she could not only bridge the generational gap but cultural barriers as well. Everything laid the groundwork for YOURS TRULY to actually reach #1 on the iTunes Pop Albums Chart and on the Overall Albums Chart based on pre-orders alone. Yours Truly arrived at #1 on the Billboard Top 200. It was the first time since January 2010 that a debut record from a female artist topped the chart. Not only did it bow at #1 on the Top 200, in addition, it was the #1 album on iTunes Overall Albums Chart and #1 on the Digital Albums Chart.

Jewel – From the remote ranch of her Alaskan youth to the triumph of international stardom, four-time Grammy nominee Jewel, hailed by the New York Times as a “songwriter bursting with talents,” has enjoyed career longevity rare among her generation of artists. Whether alone with her guitar or fronting a band of ace musicians, Jewel has always been a charismatic live performer, earning the respect of other singer-songwriters such as Merle Haggard, Bob Dylan and Neil Young, who, not only invited her to open their shows, but mentored her in the early phases of her career. After a tremendous amount of success as a singer-songwriter and over 27 million albums sold, Jewel released a Greatest Hits album in 2013. The album features a collection of her most known songs as well as two new duets with Kelly Clarkson and The Pistol Annies, in addition to a new track called “Two Hearts Breaking.” She also starred as June Carter Cash in the Lifetime biopic “Ring of Fire,” which earned four Emmy nominations. In December of this year Jewel will join NBC’s “The Sing Off” as a new judge as well as release her much anticipated follow-up holiday album, “Let It Snow.” The acclaimed American singer-songwriter-poet will not only debut 10 holiday favorites but will also feature two new original songs, “Blue Crystal Glow” and “It’s Christmastime.” Produced alongside some of the music industry’s greatest composers, Steve Skinner, Robbie Kondor and Joe Mardin, the album features country, indie-pop roots with a classical twist. Vince Gill, Country Music Hall of Famer and 20-time Grammy® Award winner, also joins Jewel on the guitar for an extraordinary rendition of “White Christmas.” Jewel currently lives on a working ranch in Stephenville, Texas with her husband, World Champion bull-riding superstar, Ty Murray and their baby Kase Townes Murray.

For more information on the “Christmas in Rockefeller Center,” visit www.nbc.com/specials and the NBC Universal Media Village website at www.nbcumv.com

Anyone can enjoy a live view of the most famous Christmas tree in the world online at nbcnewyork.com!

Follow @rockcenternyc for all the latest updates and join the conversation on twitter with hash-tag #RockCenterXmas.

Interested in what a famous New York Christmas tree has to say? For fun, mixed in with a bit of snark, follow @30rockTree.

Source: NBC.com

Photo: Courtesy of Tishman Speyer-Photographer Bart Barlow

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Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloon Inflation Map – 2013

Want to watch the famous Macy’s balloon inflation on Thanksgiving Eve?

Inflation begins at 3pm on Wednesday, November 27th, and ends at 10pm at 77th and 81st between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue.

Click on the map below to see the full size.


Source: Macy’s

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Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Route Map – 2013

Click on the map below to view full size.

2013 macys parade route map

Source: Macy’s

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All About Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloons – 2013

Let them take flight! On Thanksgiving Day, a new cast of balloon characters and some returning favorites will soar in the 87th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. From a beloved beagle to a fearsome dragon, the Parade’s signature line-up of balloons are set to thrill millions of spectators.

Since their first appearance in the 1927 Macy’s Parade, the line-up of balloons has featured a who’s who of the world’s most beloved characters. This year’s cast is no different with two returning favorites taking a new form and two never-before-seen characters taking flight as the Parade’s storied history of character balloons continues to grow. This year, making their debuts and taking flight in the 87th edition will be pop culture sensations Adventure Time with Finn and Jake; the world-famous beagle Snoopy with his pal Woodstock; the eternal undersea optimist SpongeBob SquarePants; and the loveable night fury dragon Toothless from “How to Train Your Dragon.”

Starting out as a work of imagination put to paper by the skilled hands of a Macy’s Parade Studio artist, the new balloons each begin an almost year-long transformation. Every Macy’s Parade balloon combines artistic design with aerodynamics and engineering. Under the direction of John Piper, vice president and lead designer of Macy’s Parade Studio, the Studio’s design team and resident group of “Balloonatics” transform the drawing into a larger-than-life flying wonder. Ballooning experts, the Macy’s team in collaboration with consultants, Raven Aerostar, together calculate and perfect the balloon’s aerodynamic design. Once a flight-worthy balloon concept has been approved, it moves on to the clay and painted model construction phase. This step helps the team create a physical blueprint from which the balloon will be built. From there, giant reams of polyurethane fabric will be patterned, cut and sealed together to create multiple chambers, which ultimately produce the character’s head, body and limbs. Once the balloon has been created and painted to the exact specifications required of the character, it will undergo many tests including indoor and outdoor flights, inflation and deflation tests, and final touch-ups before its inaugural flight in the Macy’s Parade.

Following is the complete listing of balloons in the 87th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade:


Pop culture sensations Finn and Jake of the hit series “Adventure Time,” take to the sky for the first time. Finn has his sword at the ready and Jake is set to roll against any wizards or evil creatures they may encounter on their journey. Measuring 57-feet long, 26-feet wide and 40-feet tall, Finn and Jake are turbo psyched for an awesome adventure as millions of fans celebrate their maiden voyage.

Disney•Pixar’s superhero Buzz Lightyear, returns for his sixth trip down the streets of New York. Toy Story’s fearless, Inter-galactic Space Ranger measures 67.7-feet long, 39.9-feet wide and 34.3-feet tall. Taking a break from starring in “Toy Story OF TERROR!” with his pals, Buzz will fly from Central Park West to Herald Square … and beyond this Thanksgiving.

Greg Heffley returns once again to the skies of New York City clutching his “diary”/journal, to the delight of millions of kids. At 60-feet long, 25-feet wide, and 56-feet tall, wimpy is not the right word to describe this balloon behemoth. Clutching his precious diary close for comfort and security, Greg is excited to celebrate millions of copies of “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” books in print and the completion of his eighth book, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck,” this holiday season.

The Elf on the Shelf will take his second flight in the Macy’s Parade this Thanksgiving. Sent by Santa Claus to watch over good little boys and girls around the world, the Elf on the Shelf will take his reporting duties to new heights, measuring 46-feet tall, 28-feet wide and 64-feet long, in the Parade line-up. Reveling in the recent release of his birthday-themed book sequel, the Elf on the Shelf is sure to be in an even more celebratory mood than usual!

Flying high in her airplane and wearing her trademark red bow, Hello Kitty returns to spread happiness and friendship along the Parade route and into homes across the country. Her retro airplane design is based on one of the first Hello Kitty looks from the 1970s and a visual nod to her 40th anniversary next year! Hello Kitty flies at 36-feet tall, 38-feet wide and 50-feet long, as she soars over the Big Apple bringing smiles to her millions of fans.

From the world of Paul Frank, check out Julius! Everyone’s favorite monkey is rocketing through the streets of New York in style as one of the largest balloons in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade! Measuring 41-feet tall, 65-feet long and 39-feet wide, Julius brings his world-famous smile and awesomeness to millions of fans.

Papa Smurf is taking a break from helping Smurfette and the rest of the Smurfs battle evil wizard Gargamel in this past summer’s hit film “The Smurfs 2,” for a return flight on Thanksgiving Day. Jumping for joy and dancing his way down the route, Papa Smurf sports a festive bow tie and baton, as he clicks his heels to the holiday fun. Measuring 51-feet tall, 36-feet wide and 46-feet long, Papa Smurf will help usher in a Happy Smurfgiving to one and all!

Pikachu lights up Thanksgiving once again with its signature electrifying presence and rosy glowing cheeks. Measuring 53.5-feet high, 36.9-feet wide and 40.8-feet long, Pikachu is set to celebrate the holiday season and the massive worldwide launch of Pokémon X and Pokémon Y, chasing a Poke-ball down the Parade route.

The Pillsbury Doughboy®, with his warm smile and world-famous giggle, is ready to once again ring in the holidays flying down the streets of Manhattan. Known for bringing families together to share delicious baked treats, the Doughboy will rise to the top and transform from his normal 8 ¾-inch frame to a balloon giant measuring 53.7-feet long, 34.4-feet wide and 46.4-feet tall.

The world’s most famous clown Ronald McDonald® returns to the Parade to kick-off the holiday season. Delighting millions of families, Ronald skates down the route, sporting the world’s largest pair of ice skates. Measuring 76.4-feet long, 28.8-feet wide and 48.6-feet tall, Ronald is always in a playful mood as he flies through the air smiling at spectators young and old.

The beagle’s clinched the title, no question about it, as Snoopy, the world’s most famous companion with a wildly imaginative, supremely confident, canine master of disguise personality, returns to the Macy’s Parade. The newest Snoopy balloon will take flight along with his pal Woodstock, marking another record setting stint in the holiday spectacle – his 37th flight and seventh balloon. Measuring 67-feet long, 27-feet wide and 38-feet tall, Snoopy and Woodstock will have Peanuts fans rejoicing at the return of their beloved duo.

With his massive blue spikes, signature white gloves and red sneakers, Sonic the Hedgehog is zooming into the atmosphere and causing a blur of activity across the sky! The Parade’s first-ever balloon based on a video game character returns for a third flight down Manhattan. Sonic measures 50-feet tall, 55-feet long, and 37-feet wide, as he sprints down the route.

Back to patrol the skyline and protect the citizens of the city is The Amazing Spider-Man! New York’s own friendly neighborhood Super Hero™ takes to the skies over Manhattan to delight millions of kids and adults. Spider-Man, in full wall-crawling action mode with one hand set to release his web, floats down the route measuring 78-feet long, 37.8-feet wide and standing 29.1-feet tall.

Holding on to his Christmas hat, SpongeBob SquarePants, the world-famous eternal optimist, returns to the Macy’s Parade! The sponge-tastic resident of Bikini Bottom takes a little vacation for a dip in the blue of New York City’s famed skyline to celebrate the start of the holidays. Based on Nickelodeon’s hit animated series, SpongeBob continues his run as the first-ever square balloon in the Parade standing at 44-feet tall, 41-feet long and 34-feet wide. His unique and iconic shape is made possible by more than 800 internal tie-lines that pull the single chamber sphere balloon into a square.

This Thanksgiving, a mythical dragon will be spotted over the skies of New York City as millions of spectators catch a glimpse of the fierce but beloved Toothless. Star of the “How To Train Your Dragon” movies and television series, Toothless measures 72-feet long, 36-feet wide and is 48-feet tall. The color of midnight with glowing green eyes and an enigmatic grin, Toothless is positioned with his giant wings folded in a landing pose ready to descend among the gathered crowds.


Set to mark the 75th Anniversary of The Wizard of OZ™, a 47-foot tall, giant hot air balloon emblazoned with the portraits of the characters from the classic film, will glide down the route carrying the Wizard of Oz™ himself! Along for the ride below will be Dorothy™ and special balloonhead characters of the Scarecrow™, Tin Man™, Cowardly Lion™ and the Wicked Witch of the West™.


Arrtie the Pirate, a recreation of the classic Pirate balloon of 1947, returns! Standing 36-feet tall, Arrtie, with map in hand, is on a search for holiday treasure this Thanksgiving.

Quacking down the route for the third time is the loveable Aflac Duck! The famed spokesduck will once again take on a new form for the festivities as a 35-foot tall balloonicle. Riding on a sleigh and wearing a festive scarf, the Aflac Duck balloonicle will continue to be a sure-fire hit and have fans quacking “Afflaaac” all along the Parade route.

The star of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is the big man himself – Santa Claus. To pay tribute to his star status, Macy’s Parade Studio magicians have created a fantastic balloon depicting a cheery Kris Kringle with a rather jolly belly, this time full of helium. Big Man Santa measures 26-feet in height and 21-feet in width for his Thanksgiving flight.

Expert fishermen may have thought this big one got away, but Flying Fish is an amazing catch! Bounding down Manhattan and stretching out to a full 30-feet, this classic recreation of the 1951 classic is one happy halibut.

Debuting in the line-up this year before heading down to celebrate the holidays daily in Macy’s Holiday Parade at Universal Orlando, is Happy Hippo. A recreation of a classic Parade balloon which first appeared in 1940, Happy has added a bit of red ribbon and holly to her wardrobe to celebrate the season. With 12-inch long eyelashes framing her big blue eyes, and smiling from ear to ear, Happy is set for her New York City debut this year.

Who better to salute the city’s bravest, the men and women of the New York Fire Department, than that lovable character Harold the Fireman! Originally seen in the Parade of 1948, Harold is a recreation of the original balloon. At a height of 32-feet, New Yorkers can rest assured that he will keep a watchful eye over the city.

Joining his Fireman twin is the Parade’s newest recreation, Harold the Policeman. Joining the line-up after his first stint in service in 1947, Harold the Policeman salutes the NYPD for keeping us safe.

The Gnome Balloon from the 40s and early ‘50s are back in new form, as the Macy’s Parade Elf Family. At 34-feet high, 18.5-feet wide, and filled with 2,100 cubic feet of helium, these novelty balloons give a new meaning to the word “elf.”

Oh Yeah! It’s the Kool-Aid Man! The cherry-flavored icon returns to the Big Apple to show off his super cool moves. Always smiling, the Kool-Aid Man sails down the route on his skateboard measuring 33-feet tall and 24-feet wide and wearing size 130 sneakers. The gigantic pitcher is large enough to carry over 1.3 million cups of the newest Kool-Aid flavors launching in 2014 – Green Apple and Sharkleberry Fin!

Macy’s is the star of the Parade as its signature five-pointed namesake and Believe stars fly high in a variety of colors and configurations. Celebrating the famed red star that guided R.H. Macy to shore during his days as a seaman, the Macy’s star still shines today.

Macy’s knows how to accessorize the holidays! Featuring a balloon cast that includes pumpkins, a baseball, football and balloonheads of founding fathers and Pilgrims – the Parade’s novelty balloons are a sight to behold. New this year, to mark the start of Hanukkah, which falls on Thanksgiving for the first time in centuries, a spinning dreidel balloonicle will delight spectators as it spins its way down the route.

It’s all in the pedaling! A Macy’s innovation combining a cold-air balloon and tandem tricycle, the trycaloons offer a fun new level of interaction along the route. Featuring a classic Bulldog and Tough Guy characters, along with the Nutcracker and Mouse King, fans of slapstick will enjoy these pedaling marvels.

The Power Rangers Super Megaforce are making their MEGA debut at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Saving the world from evil, this iconic team of superheroes calls on legendary Power Rangers from the past and the future. With the Power Rangers Super Megaforce on hand, and some added help from surprise guests, the Earth is well protected this Turkey Day.

Kids will scream in delight wishing they could get their hands on this sweet treat. This 20-foot tall candy cane is a holiday favorite on a sky-high sugar rush.

Stars and Stripes Forever! Let’s hear it for the red, white and blue as Uncle Sam makes his way down the route in true patriotic spirit. The first Uncle Sam balloon debuted in the Parade in 1938. This recreation of the original represents everything American, from our shared values to our freedoms. Uncle Sam is a proud citizen of the Parade and the U.S.A.!

Virginia, the little girl who taught everybody to believe, soars once again. Modeled after the animated version of eight-year old Virginia O’Hanlon, who famously wrote to the editor of the “New York Sun” about the existence of Santa Claus, Virginia is ready to kick off the holidays, but first she must get that letter in the mail.

Source & Photos: Macy’s

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All About Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Floats – 2013

A wondrous flotilla of fantasy will roll down the streets of Manhattan as the out-of-this world landscapes of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade’s signature floats transport spectators to lands of fantasy.

Thanks to the imagination, creative and skilled hands of the artists at Macy’s Parade Studio, these whimsical floating marvels set the scene for magical destinations. Using foam, wood, metal and paint as their tools of the trade, the Studio team designs and constructs every inch of the creations that will dazzle spectators on Parade Day.

Ready to debut this year are five new feats of imagination and engineering. Joining the lineup are floats depicting the scrumptious madness of Despicably Delicious!; the fantastic flying ship and acrobatic wonder of the Dreamseeker; the delectable puppetry aboard the Enchanting World of Lindt Chocolate; the undersea beauty of marine life on A Sea of Surprises; and the adventurous activities aboard the cruising vessel on A World at Sea.

Hitting the streets as 360-degree masterpieces, the floats begin their Thanksgiving journey as a one-dimensional sketch. From there, the Studio’s team of designers, carpenters, painters, animators, metal fabricators and electricians work to bring each to larger-than-life form. Factors including creative inspiration, performance considerations, safety, and most importantly, assembly and disassembly guide the creation process. From weather to final dimensions, the team transforms the creative vision into a work of art and of engineering.

Dimensions are key for any new Macy’s Parade float. While many can be several stories tall and several lanes of traffic wide, everything imagined, designed and built must fit through New York’s Lincoln Tunnel. With Macy’s Parade Studio located in New Jersey, miles and a river away from the Parade route, the floats must all travel through the tunnel conforming to no more than 12.5-feet tall and 8-feet wide in size. While that is the first hurdle on Parade eve, the next is the overnight assembly of the entire fleet. With the help of several cranes and extra manpower, one-by-one the floats come to life and are prepared for their Thanksgiving Day duties.

Following is the complete listing of floats in the 87th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade:


The stoop of 1-2-3 Sesame Street is a magical place where friends gather to celebrate the joy of the season. Along with Big Bird, Abby Cadabby, Oscar the Grouch, Elmo and their friends, the most famous street in the world celebrates its 44th season as it comes to life for a Thanksgiving Day celebration. At 32-feet long, 20-feet wide, and 2-stories tall, Sesame Street will rock when Jimmy Fallon and The Roots along with the gang from “Sesame Street” perform the classic “Somebody Come and Play.”

The city that never sleeps provides the inspiration for the “New York Daily News” Big Apple float. The Empire State Building, Chrysler Building and of course Macy’s, share the landscape with New York’s signature taxi cabs and subway stations. With a giant 30-foot inflatable apple at its core, the float perfectly represents the frenzied and bustling city. Helping to capture the energy of this lively metropolis will be NFL legends Bart Oates, Amani Toomer, Hines Ward and more, celebrating next year’s hometown Super Bowl XLVIII.

Hitting the road ready to fuel the Thanksgiving revelry is the Hess Bridge to the Future float. Featuring iconic New York City transportation hubs, the float includes a reproduction of New York City’s famed Brooklyn Bridge and a look forward at the Delta Y Tri-Suspension Bridge of Tomorrow. At 32-feet long, 20-feet wide and 30-feet tall, the float also incorporates an elevated highway and features the debut of the 2013 Hess Toy Truck and Tractor. On board to rock the bridge will be pop sensation Cher Lloyd.

A Thanksgiving marvel, the Cornucopia float features a giant horn of plenty overflowing with fall’s favorite fruits and harvest. Giant grapes, cherries, pumpkins and other delectable treats adorn the 38-foot long and 21-foot wide scrumptious delight. On board to share in the bounty of the season will be the Cherokee National Youth Choir performing “Alleluia.”

From a playful barnyard, to play time on a stream aboard a newspaper sailboat, and finally to a night time oasis atop a giant tree house, children’s limitless imagination takes to the physical world in spectacular form on Sprout’s imaginative float. From breakfast to bedtime Sprout’s TV tableau showcases preschoolers daily activities. From fun pursuits to learning about kindness, it’s always a spectacular day filled with friends. Joining the Parade procession on board the float this year will be Chica, the world’s most famous chicken from Sprout’s daily “Sunny Side Up Show,” her co-stars – including the newest Sunny Side Up host, as well as Nina from “The Good Night Show” all singing “Kindness Counts” – which celebrates the kind acts that Sprout encourages preschoolers to do each day.

It will be a deliciously despicable Thanksgiving this year as the famed Minions from “Despicable Me 2” whip up a mix of goodies and mayhem for spectators. The confectionary scene on this 20-foot high, 33-feet long classic bake shop-themed float features larger-than-life cupcakes. Measuring 3.5-feet tall and 2-feet wide, these scrumptious delights will have millions of spectators craving a bite, as they encounter a new character along the route. On board for the fun will be Gru and the Minions.

For the holidays, Dora and her friends are off on an adventure to learn the true meaning of Christmas. Exploring the past, present and future of Christmas at her nochebuena party, Dora and the gang are set to help Swiper get off Santa’s naughty list. Featured on the colorful float is a stunning 12-foot tall Christmas tree decorated with dazzling ornaments and holiday gifts. On board with Dora for this holiday trek is the star of Nickelodeon’s “Sam & Cat” and music sensation Ariana Grande.

This year, during the 87th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Cirque du Soleil takes the streets of New York City by storm with the DREAMSEEKER by Cirque du Soleil, a huge, one-of-a-kind float in the form of a flying ship. At 52-feet long, 23-feet wide and 35-feet high, the grand ship is the one of the longest, tallest and widest floats in the Thanksgiving Day spectacle. Seeming to take flight, thanks in part to giant antique wings, DREAMSEEKER comes complete with custom-designed trampolines, Chinese poles and an incredible performance that will allow the magic and artistry of Cirque du Soleil to shine as the procession unfolds. Spectators along the route and in homes across the nation will be in for an incredible treat as the Cirque du Soleil troupe of 20 plus acrobats and characters perform feats of fantasy.

Rising three stories above a spectacular chocolate shop, the new Enchanting World of Lindt Chocolate float features a larger-than-life Lindt Master Chocolatier that has the world dancing on a string as he orchestrates the pouring and casting of LINDT BEAR and other chocolate figures for the holidays. Through a little Macy’s Parade magic, the Lindt Master Chocolatier makes live puppets and giant spoons work in tandem to create incredibly delicious premium chocolate delights. On board for the holiday revelry will be the Goo Goo Dolls.

The Frozen Fall Fun float returns to delight hockey fans of all ages as they root for kids on the home team. Transforming a hometown backyard into an ice rink for the ultimate hockey showdown complete with a giant Turkey Goalie, this will be a spectacular Thanksgiving Day slap shot contest. On board for the Turkey Day classic will be country music sensation Kellie Pickler along with NHL greats Cam Neely and Mike Richter.

Finn and his Goldfish friends Gilbert, Brooke and Xtreme, return for another impromptu parade. Inspired by Macy’s great American tradition, the Goldfish on Parade are led by Finn in a dapper top hat and shades. Xtreme uses pencils to “stilt walk” down the route while Brooke drives the wind-up car which tows Gilbert on his float made of buttons, caps and a whistle. The march comes to life as it seemingly jumps out of a New York City pop-up book complete with a classic toy balloon. On board for the Turkey Day fun will be X-Factor standouts Fifth Harmony.

Build-A-Bear Workshop® is sharing hugs worldwide! The International Cele-bear-ation Clock Tower float celebrates everyone’s favorite childhood friend – the Teddy Bear. Huggable mascots Bearemy® and Pawlett Coufur® join their international furry friends. From country to country a bear hug is understood in any language. Along for the ride down Manhattan will be internet and recording sensation Austin Mahone.

It’s All Rock & Roll on this incredible float celebrating the almighty guitar! Featuring a massive Gibson “Les Paul” guitar as its centerpiece, the float takes us to the ultimate concert. Complete with real stage truss work, lighting and staging, the float comes alive and pays tribute to modern music performance. From a rainbow of LED lighting to speaker stacks, a DJ booth and multi-level stage, all genres of music lead back to Rock & Roll. On board to wow the crowd will be country superstar group Florida Georgia Line.

Sailing full steam down the streets of New York is the largest vessel to ever float down the line of march, the Marion-Carole Showboat. The Showboat is a 33-foot tall, 16-foot wide and 42-foot long masterpiece. Complete with an authentic-looking paddlewheel and twin smokestacks, the Showboat is a sight to behold. Joining the sail down Manhattan will be the The Robertson family from A&E®’s hit series “Duck Dynasty®.”

From the Badlands to the Black Hills, and of course the iconic faces etched on Mount Rushmore, South Dakota’s heritage, attractions and natural beauty are showcased on Mount Rushmore’s American Pride float. The stage captures the memorial flanked by South Dakota’s most majestic scenery. From rivers and pine forests, ancient dinosaur fossils to Great Plains animals and their American Indian legacy, the float is a majestic representation of the great state that is set to celebrate its 125th birthday next year. Helping to celebrate this Thanksgiving will be the legendary Joan Jett and The Blackhearts.

Classic wooden pull toys are back! An adorable duck family is on the roll again as Lewis the Duck and his colorful kin take to the streets. Dressed in a dapper hat and carrying a backpack, Lewis is taking his flock on a holiday getaway. The Homewood Suites by Hilton mascot lets his feet do the “cranking,” pulling his wife Lois, and kids Lance and Lisa, down the line of march with their luggage in tow. Joining the merriment will be Broadway and Television star Megan Hilty performing “Merry Christmas Darling.”

Putting the pep in the step off and spreading holiday spirit is the Pep Rally float. More than 20 spirited cheerleading kids will show they really do know how to get the party started as they cheer in the holidays. On board the jolly ride are up and coming stars and the winners of Macy’s iHeartRadio Rising Star content, The Summer Set, performing their hit summer anthem “Boomerang.”

It’s time to BELIEVE, as the one-and-only Santa Claus makes his way to Macy’s Herald Square straight from his home in the North Pole. Depicting Santa’s magical night of travel on Christmas Eve, we see good old St. Nick as he leaves his snowy sanctuary to begin his enchanting journey around the globe. The North Pole is showcased by Santa’s Toyshop and a giant ice and granite obelisk that is supported by ice sculptures of a Walrus and a Polar Bear. Santa’s Sleigh is a colossal float that measures 60-feet long, 22-feet wide and is 3.5 stories tall.

From sea turtles, penguins and angel fish to sharks and breaching whales, amazing oceanic sculptures abound on the new float celebrating almost 50 years of entertaining and inspiring millions of guests. Featuring rolling ocean waves, the gentle movement of swaying kelp and a vibrant school of tropical fish, the scene will take spectators on an extraordinary undersea journey full of surprises. Taking center stage on the SeaWorld® “A Sea of Surprises” float is the iconic Shamu®, breaching 27-feet above millions of Parade spectators lining the streets of Manhattan.

The Smurfs™ take a break from Smurf Village for another fun-filled day in Manhattan, as they ride down the Parade route on a smurf-tastic float with the Papa Smurf balloon. The float features a replica of The Smurfs’ legendary mushroom houses.

Holiday baking takes center stage on this 26-foot tall float featuring a giant cookie dough bowl and cookie press that dishes out the scrumptious confections. As it travels into the cookie press, the dough drops in perfect dollops onto the turntable and finally into the oven. The treats are then baked a golden brown and shoot down the ramp to the awaiting cars of the Cookie Express train, ready for holiday deliveries. Set to add his down-home flavor to the mix is country superstar Brett Eldredge.

Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo are back! Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles emerge from their underground lair to delight spectators with their breathtaking ninja precision. Featuring a spectacular dark cityscape including roof tops, fire escapes, window ledges and a zip line down telephone wires, evil doer’s beware, the Turtles are coming. Taking a ride with the Turtles on their Thanksgiving journey will be superstar group Fall Out Boy.

What would Thanksgiving Day be without everyone’s favorite Turkey? Tom Turkey returns to lead the line-up for another glorious Thanksgiving march. Covered in brilliantly-hued plumage, sporting a festive collar and the coveted blue award ribbon, Tom is one giant bird measuring 21-feet tall and 20-feet wide. Along for the Turkey Day ride will be lifestyle maven Sandra Lee.

Since 2008, the Oneida Indian Nation’s “True Spirit of Thanksgiving” float has been showcased in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The first of its kind to honor an American Indian Nation, the decorative float represents the Oneida Nation’s creation story with vivid characters, symbols, and performers. It captures the essence of American Indian people, featuring a 30-foot-tall White Pine “Tree of Peace.” Celebrating unity on Thanksgiving Day will be Native Pride dancers who will delight with a special performance.

Boasting American Pride, Uncle Sam’s Top Hat invites you to enjoy the celebration of this great American holiday, as well as the 125th anniversary of Drake’s Cakes, the classic family favorite since 1888. A star-spangled chapeau like no other, Uncle Sam’s Top Hat will serve as the host to the reigning Miss America 2014 Nina Davuluri.

It’s time to climb aboard and set sail. Celebrating the WOW’s of a Royal Caribbean International cruise vacation, this new float promises to set the stage for adventure. Featuring 3-D postcards in a revolving panorama, the scenes change to highlight the incredible onboard activities found on a Royal Caribbean cruise. From rock climbing to surfing and flying through the sky on a zip line, fun and enjoyment await Parade fans. Setting sail down Manhattan on Thanksgiving Day will be Broadway superstar and Godmother of Royal Caribbean’s newest ship Quantum of the Seas, Kristin Chenoweth.

Before heading out of town, the Wild Wild West Express will make a pit stop at Macy’s Herald Square. With whistles blowing, bells ringing and steam billowing from the top of a 45-foot long steam locomotive, the train pulls a 28-foot long coal car filled with a cargo of smiling children and brightly-wrapped gifts. Along for the train ride down the streets of Manhattan will be international holiday stars Mannheim Steamroller.

Visitors flying on New York’s largest airline from one of 122 destinations Delta serves should head to the city’s largest and most famous urban oasis – Central Park – to get the quintessential New York experience. After seeing the real thing they can fully appreciate the intricate recreation of the park’s Gothic Bridge, vintage streetlights, illuminated Christmas trees and fresh-fallen snow that set a magical tone on the Winter Wonderland in Central Park float. The float will come to life with the holiday sounds of Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings.

This Thanksgiving, Ocean Spray is celebrating along with families around the world. On the stunning Woodland Family Gathering float, a woodland family’s holiday table is set with all the classic holiday trimmings – 10 foot long ears of corn, pumpkins, squash and of course, what would a holiday meal be without the big, bold taste of cranberries. As the gathering gets into high gear along the beautiful log table, the woodland critter family will enjoy a performance from Gavin DeGraw that helps gives thanks to the bounty of the Thanksgiving harvest.

ZhuZhu Pets’ Fab Four – Pipsqueak, Mr. Squiggles, Chunk and Num Nums, return to the Macy’s Parade about the fun-filled world of the Zhu-niverse. Dancing, surfing and skateboarding to the delight of Zhu-natics everywhere, the ZhuZhu Pets are joining in the holiday revelry along with the star of the Disney Channel hit show “Jesse,” Debby Ryan.


Ronald McDonald®, the world’s most famous clown, is riding down the Parade route in his one-of-a-kind Big Red Shoe Car. Joining Ronald on this fun holiday trip will be his friends the talented McKids®.

Sixteen New York City Park Rangers and Police Officers make up an old-fashioned cavalry as they ride down the route on horseback saluting Parade spectators along the way.

Gentlemen start your engines! New York City police officers will officially escort the 85th Parade down the entire route.

Even at 97-years old, Mr. Peanut® still knows how to party. Back in classic style, the monocle-sporting star rides the famed Planters NUTmobile as he sets out on the holiday trip down Manhattan.

Source: Macy’s

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