The 71st Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade was famous for one thing that happened. Almost all of the character balloons got damaged by windy conditions and it wasn't a pretty sight to see.



Arthur's left arm was damaged by a tree from the start of the parade, but he made it through despite the winds.

Big Bird

Big Bird wasn't damaged at all during the route, but was lowered majorly though and survived.


Garfield's tail was damaged overnight, and his left front paw was deflated during the route. Garfield made it through.

Peter Rabbit

Peter Rabbit hit a lamppost, and it almost popped the balloon's ear. Even with that the balloon survived and made it through OK.

The Pink Panther

The Pink Panther went out of control at 42nd St, and was eventually stabbed by the NYPD over crowd concerns.

Quik Bunny

The Quik Bunny's left ear deflated upon the route and later also went out of control during the route, eventually hitting a lamppost at 36th Street which ripped its left ear off and the balloon collapsed.

Barney the Dinosaur

Barney had trouble at 51st Street, when the wind was violently dangling the balloon and it then hit a lamppost, and then stabbed by the NYPD.

Sonic the Hedgehog

Sonic couldn't fly at all due to wind damage.


Dispute the violent winds, the Rugrats survived, and made it through.

The Cat in the Hat

In arguably the worst accident in parade history, The Cat in the Hat hit a lamppost twice at Central Park West and 72nd Street, knocking the parts of the light onto the crowd, injuring 4 people, most notibily injuring a women, almost killing her and having to be put in a coma for a month. The balloon continued with his hat deflated, and left the parade at 36th Street.


Spider-Man's right hand was damaged and he was half deflated. He was lowered to the ground, but made it through.


Bumpe's left legs were damaged, but the balloon made it through.

Eben Bear

Eben Bear was removed from the parade near the start after the Cat in the Hat incident.

Snow Family

The Head of the SnowDad came off the float and so the rest of the parade had a headless SnowDad. The other Snowpeople survived.

Petula Pig

Petula Pig was also removed from the parade after the Cat in the Hat incident.

Paddington Bear

Paddington Bear was knocked right down, but would manage to be put up again.


In recent years, new rules have been implemented to prevent incidents from occurring often, if not eliminate the possibility of them altogether. After the "great balloon massacre" of 1997, the giant character balloons would now be attached to two buggies, and were no longer allowed to exceed 78 feet in length, 70 feet in height, or 40 feet in width; this meant that the largest balloons, like the Cat in the Hat and Woody Woodpecker, had to be barred from making further reappearances. In 2006, more safety measures were enacted, such as installing wind measurement devices that alert parade organizers to unsafe weather, keeping balloons closer to the ground during windy conditions, and prohibiting balloons from flying during very heavy rainfall or in winds higher than 34 miles per hour.