Updated on November 23, 2022
Similar to last year, here’s a look at the character balloons that’ll be seen in this year’s “McDonald’s Thanksgiving Day Parade” in Chicago. Unlike the big Macy’s parade in New York, Chicago’s parade probably reflects its smaller/Midwest roots… a lot of smaller local/regional businesses (though parade sponsor McDonald’s is headquartered in Chicago), more traditional parade elements (high school marching bands aplenty), and various Chicagoland area performers.
Chicago’s parade is less over-the-top than Macy’s, though the latter has more cartoon characters. However, as I noted last year, NBC’s parade announcers seem enthusiastic about the Macy parade’s cartoon balloons (having Al Roker, who’s an animation fan, helps), versus the disinterested or less-than-enthusiastic tone I get from WGN’s announcers’ coverage.
Anyway, here’s this year’s Chicago parade balloons:
- Fred Flintstone
- Arthur (from the PBS show and books of the same name)
- Curious George
- Strawberry Shortcake
As usual, the balloons for Chicago’s parade tend to be either of older characters (Fred Flintstone, Scooby-Doo) or of educational/literary-based ones (Arthur, Madeline, Curious George). Parents will like Fred (whether kids will even recognize him as “the guy on the cereal box” is debatable), while kids and adults will probably recognize the other characters. Currently, Strawberry Shortcake’s back on TV in, of all places, Honda car ads trading on Gen Xer toy nostalgia as its holiday/year-end car ads theme…
A full list of what’s in this year’s Chicago parade is
here (update: dead link). Yes, Macy’s is a sponsor of a few floats in Chicago’s parade, keeping with the Marshall Fields Macy’s windows decorated each Christmas on State Street.