The 71st Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is one of the most famous Macy's Parades to date. Not because of the quality of the parade, but rather the massive amount of balloons that either got damaged and/or destroyed completely. Below, you will find a list of the incidents that happened in the 1997 parade.
Arthur's left arm was damaged by a tree right at the start of the parade, but he made it through despite the winds. His left ear also deflated upon route.
Big Bird wasn't damaged at all during the route, but had to be lowered nearer to the ground due to the high winds.
Garfield's tail was damaged overnight, and his left front paw was deflated during the route, but the rest of the balloon remained undamaged.
Peter Rabbit hit a lamppost, and it almost popped the balloon's ear. Even with that the balloon remained undamaged.
The Pink Panther went out of control at 42nd St, and was eventually stabbed by the NYPD over crowd concerns, completely destroying the balloon.
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 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.
The overnight winds caused the balloon to get damaged before the start of the parade, and so he couldn't fly at all.
Even though the Rugrats balloon was quite large, the entire balloon remained intact throughout the parade, with other balloon handlers from other deflated balloons also holding on to this one. The balloon however sustained minor damage by the same lamppost that destroyed the Barney balloon on Chuckie's shorts, but even then the balloon still made it to the end.
In arguably the worst accident in the parade's 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 rest of the balloon survived.
Eben Bear was removed from the parade near the start after the Cat in the Hat incident.
The Head of the SnowDad tore off the float and deflated. The other Snowpeople survived.
Petula Pig was also removed from the parade after the Cat in the Hat incident.
Paddington Bear was knocked right down and almost completely deflated, but eventually went back up before being shown on TV.
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.