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Even though the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is a sight to be seen, sometimes things don't go according to plan, and even change the parade. Here are some mishaps from the parade throughout the years, including balloon deflations and injuries.

Before 1997

  • 1928: The giant dog balloon tore loose from his leash near 90th Street, and the turkey hit a No Parking sign at 58th Street and 6th Avenue. Both balloons deflated and were removed from the parade.
  • 1931: The Terrible Turk hit an electric sign at 72nd Street and tore in half. Felix The Cat got tangled by telephone wires and caught on fire
  • 1933: The 90-foot Andy the Alligator balloon split in two, losing his tail south of 70th Street. Additionally, the Gulliver balloon had his nose punctured, but he was repaired at Lincoln Square.
  • 1936: The Father Knickerbocker balloon got his nose stuck at the elevated train line in Lincoln Square. Like Gulliver, it was repaired.
  • 1938: The Uncle Sam balloon started leaking helium, but he was filled up again and repaired.
  • 1941: The Santa Claus balloon collapsed on route after getting damaged.
  • 1946: Harold the Baseball Player's foot was deflated.
  • 1948: One of the Monkey's legs was punctured before the parade.
  • 1949: The Dachshund had problems at 47th Street, as well as the crocodile at 74th Street. Both were repaired.
  • ~1952: The Crocodile's left arm was punctured
  • 1953: The Toy Soldier blew out overnight, and was replaced by the crocodile.
  • 1956: The Gorgeous Gobbler and the new Observer balloon both deflated in accidents. Mighty Mouse barely survived, and nearly crashed at Columbus Circle, arriving at Herald Square just seconds before finally succumbing to the winds.
  • 1957: The Popeye balloon's hat got filled with water due to heavy rain that was happening, and the design of the hat. This caused the balloon to go off-course and pour freezing water on the crowd. The balloon's hat was remade for the next parade, so it did not cause any more water spillages.
  • 1958: The Popeye balloon blew out overnight, and the Gorgeous Gobbler could not be carried by the cranes.
  • 1961: Gorgeous Gobbler's face got deflated At 77th Street. The balloon made it through the route, but was retired after the parade.
  • 1962: The Donald Duck balloon's hat got filled with water during heavy rain, and much like with Popeye in 1957, Donald's hat drenched cold water on the crowd.
  • 1964: Dino the Dinosaur was punctured by a lamppost at Columbus Circle, tearing a hole in its side but barely made through the route, The Popeye balloon failed to inflate  and was replaced with Happy dragon instead, Donald Duck was pushed around by strong winds but he was not damaged.
  • 1965: Donald Duck had his wings messed up
  • 1966: Superman's left arm was deflated by a tree.
  • 1971: No balloons could be inflated due to extreme weather.
  • 1972: Donald Duck's left wing was deflated by a tree. Due to this mishap, he was retired from the parade, but he briefly returned in 1984 for his 50th birthday.
  • 1973: Snoopy's right hand was bent and his torso was deflated.
  • 1974: Bullwinkle's foot was punctured during march, and could not be reinflated.
  • 1975: Astronaut Snoopy,Underdog,Weeble and Mickey Mouse were damaged by various obstacles along the parade route, Mickey continued the parade with ripped ears but Snoopy,Underdog and Weeble ended up getting removed from the parade
  • 1976: Just like the previous year, the Weeble could not finish the parade route. Underdog's right hand was deflated.
  • 1978: The Happy Dragon balloon was punctured by a tree in Columbus Circle and had to be removed from the parade. Eventually The Mickey Mouse balloon made contact with a tree branch and his hand got ripped. But just like 1975 the rest of the balloon survived.
  • 1980: The Aviator Snoopy balloon was left out of the parade due to a broken leg on the balloon. When he returned the following year, a black garbage bag acting like a bandage was wrapped around the broken leg.
  • 1982: The Bullwinkle balloon sprang a catastrophic nose leak just a few blocks shy of the finish line. Mickey Mouse was pushed around by strong winds At Central Park West but wasn't damaged,Snoopy's tail was deflated during march,Superman had a hole in his head and leg and Woody Woodpecker was lowrered to the ground due to a ripped stomach (He reripped his stomach in 1993). Underdog,Linus the Lionhearted and Olive Oyl weren't damaged at all
  • 1983: The Mickey Mouse balloon's arm was ripped off during preparation, and later exploded while being inflated. As a result, he was retired from the parade.
  • 1984: Garfield's left paw was deflated
  • 1985: Kermit the Frog tore at the stomach after colliding with a tree due to heavy rain. Olive Oyl and Superman couldn't start at all due to the rainy weather which damaged them, and the list Aviator Snoopy was holding came off the balloon and fell to the ground, but the balloon itself didn't get damaged.
  • 1986: The Raggedy Ann balloon crashed into a lamppost and sent the lamp into the street. The Superman balloon also featured in that year's parade had its hand torn off by a tree which caused its arm to deflate. Betty Boop, the last character balloon that year, collapsed onto the ground a few yards away from the finish line; and Olive Oyl had one of her arms ripped off, but the hand remained standing due to it being a separate part connected.
  • 1987: Kermit's right arm was ripped by a tree.
  • 1988: Baby Shamu was filled with less helium than usual.
  • 1989: The Snoopy balloon's nose and the Bugs Bunny balloon's side were punctured by trees before the parade started, so neither could start its march.
  • 1991: The Kermit balloon collided with a tree in Central Park West, and his head deflated, which meant the balloon had to be retired. He did return, however, with a new balloon in 2002. Meanwhile, Betty Boop's moon deflated during the march, the Happy Dragon's tail was punctured before the parade (but was fixed), and the Quik Bunny lost his right drumstick.
  • 1993: High winds pushed Rex the Dinosaur into a street light and caused his head to pop; the balloon spent the rest of the parade with a deflated head. Sonic the Hedgehog crashed into a lamppost at Columbus Circle and injured both a child and an off-duty police officer. Woody Woodpecker was carried lower than usual as his stomach was ripped open, Bart Simpson's T-shirt was ripped open by a lamppost, and Spider-Man had his head partly deflated after colliding with some trees, Quik Bunny's right arm was deflated and Snuggle Bear's stocking was a little deflated.
  • 1994: Quik Bunny's right ear was deflated. The Cat in the Hat's right arm was also deflated. the Barney balloon got his foot got ripped by a street light.
  • 1995: Dudley the Dragon was speared and deflated on a lamppost in Columbus Circle and showered the glass from the lamppost onto the crowd below, injuring a person. The balloon could not make the rest of the route due to this. Sonic also managed to snagged on a tree and ripped his face (like Skydancer) and was removed around Times Square. SkyDancer had her face deflated by a tree, Betty Boop had her moon ripped open, The Pink Panther suffered high amounts of damage, Izzy had his arm and hand deflated and Garfield hit into a lamppost, but ended up bouncing back with no damage done to the balloon.
  • 1996: Unexpected "wind demons" caused Woody Woodpecker's left hand to get ripped off by a tree.
  • 1997: See 1997 Incidents for more information.

1998-present

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.

  • 1998: A gust of wind pushed the Wild Thing balloon into a tree right at the very start of the parade and the balloon tore open. Additionally, the Garfield, Quik Bunny, and Spider-Man balloons also tore open right at the start of the parade and never made it down the route. Dexter's right rocket was deflated.
  • 1999: The Wild Thing balloon was originally scheduled to make its proper debut that year, but one of its air chambers failed to inflate properly, so he once again couldn't make it onto the route, and wouldn't appear again until 2002. In addition, the Quik Bunny balloon had to be less inflated in order to utilize the new safety buggies for the giant balloons.
  • 2000: The Rocky balloon was accidentally deflated during preparation, which meant Bullwinkle had to fly alone.
  • 2001: The Ronald McDonald balloon had its left arm torn open after colliding with some Central Park trees.
  • 2002: The Cheesasaurus Rex balloon's right arm was shredded, but the balloon made it through.
  • 2003: The Gorgeous Gobbler novelty balloon that was leading the parade had some of his feathers shredded by a tree.
  • 2004: Garfield and Clifford the Big Red Dog were snagged by trees. No damage was done to Clifford, but Garfield suffered damage to his left paw. Additionally, Charlie Brown almost crashed into a street light, as gusty winds pushed him dangerously close to it. SpongeBob SquarePants was snagged by a lamppost at Times Square, but was freed. Kermit the Frog was pushed into the crowd due to the winds, but was moved back.
  • 2005: The M&M's balloon caught on a streetlight in Times Square and dropped parts of the light, giving two sisters minor injuries. The present-day safety rules were introduced because of this. In 2007, M&M's retired the balloon and replaced it with a float where its characters are depicted saluting Broadway theatre and musicals. Additionally, the Barney balloon was nearly blown away, and his foot got ripped by a street light.
  • 2006: SpongeBob SquarePants once again snagged a lamppost, and was freed. The balloon was left out for the next parade, but returned in 2008. The Bumpus Balloonicle from the Weebles unit also tipped over and deflated before the parade started, but Tibby and Tooey made it though
  • 2007: The top of the wand of the Abby Cadabby balloon got detached and fell down to the street and the top of the wand was deflated
  • 2008: Keith Haring's "Figure with Heart" balloon hit the NBC broadcast booth, sending the hosts off air for a few minutes.
  • 2010: The Wiggle Worm novelty balloon was punctured by a "ONE WAY" sign in an attempt to spin. SpongeBob once again snagged a lamp post, and was freed.
  • 2011: The Kool-Aid Man balloonicle tipped over when it was being inflated, the Ice Cream Cone had its Strawberry flavoring slightly deflated after being speared by a tree, and one of Ronald McDonald's ice skates got deflated. SpongeBob once again snagged a lamp post and was freed.
  • 2012: Buzz Lightyear's helmet had a dent in the bottom possibly due to the helmet wearing out, SpongeBob's left arm and shoe were deflated and Pikachu's ears were deflated because both balloons were not inflated very well. Ronald McDonald's hair was also deflated by a tree right at the start.
  • 2013: Even though the winds were higher and the balloons had to be lowered to the ground, three of them suffered mishaps. Sonic the Hedgehog flailed in the wind at the start because his left hand got caught on a tree, but it was freed without damaging the balloon. Spider-Man had his left arm partially deflated after impacting a tree along Central Park near the beginning of the parade, and Buzz Lightyear almost had his left arm damaged by one of the flagpoles of the Santaland Express in an attempt to pass through the float after it broke down at 55th Street. One of Buzz Lightyear's safety buggies also ran over a female balloon handler and injured her foot.
  • 2017: The Red & Green Candy Cane hit a tree near the start of the parade and deflated, and Ice Age's Scrat's arms were bent randomly for an unknown reason.
  • Balloonfest 2018: Fleck, Bjorn & Jojo never did their test flight due to heavy winds, with Hugg never being used at all. The Goku balloon knocked into a handler, causing hospitalization.
  • 2018: The Pilgrim Man balloonhead left the parade at Central Park South for an unknown reason, which meant that Pilgrim Woman had to continue rest of the route alone. The same situation happened with the Papa balloonhead, except he never made it onto the route. Additionally, one of the Red Believe Stars was punctured and deflated by a tree just one block away from the finish line, and Hugg the Christmas Chronicle elf's right ear was not inflated.

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