The arrival of Thanksgiving not only marks a day of eating turkey, stuffing and pie, but also the return of the iconic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. For its 91st year, the 2017 parade will feature 17 giant character balloons, 28 legacy balloons, 26 floats and familiar performances by various marching bands, cheerleaders and celebrity guests.
Started in 1924 as the Macy’s Christmas Parade, the procession is a staple on the screens of American homes on Thanksgiving morning—a prelude to the equally iconic turkey eating and football watching. With more than 3.5 million spectators expected (and another 50 million watching from the comfort of home), the parade is one of New York City’s largest annual events.
Despite being around for nearly a century, Macy’s has kept parade-viewers on their toes with something new each year. Though some staples are brought back annually, floats and balloons are constantly added and changed, and 2017 will mark the debut of characters such as Olaf from Disney’s Frozen.
These images—stretching as far back as 1924—are a fun trip through the history of one the country’s favorite parades.