CBNNews.com - It's a Thanksgiving tradition that rivals turkey and pumpkin pie.
The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade draws millions of spectators to the streets of New York and has been a staple in American households since it first appeared on television in 1945.
"This is one of the largest public gatherings in the United States. It's sort of like the opening act for Thanksgiving day for a lot, a lot of American families," said Robin Hall, an executive producer for the annual parade.
For most of us, the parade lasts just a few hours and is over just in time for feasting and football. But for some Macy's employees, the parade never ends.
A team of artists and craftspeople work year-round creating the floats and balloons that line Broadway each November.
"It seems like it all goes by in a blink of an eye, but there's this whole year of getting everything together," said John Piper, a top creative director for Macy's studio.
The parade is just like a thanksgiving dinner that takes hours to create but minutes to devour.
"There's a lot of designing and sketching and work with the computers and drawings and all that technical stuff in order to make these giant floats," Piper explained. "And of course our signature are those giant balloons flying in the sky. It takes quite a long time to put all that together."
The team also cooks up new ideas each year.
"We have a whole clutch of new parade balloons this year," Hall said. "Incredible new characters and we have wonderful new floats this year."
They don't have to start completely from scratch. A few items always make the menu.
"You know you've got to have some things that are traditional like Turkey, and we always have our turkey float, and you always finish with a great dessert and we finish with Santa at the end," Piper explained.
Many generations of Macy's employees have labored to create a recipe for success, and many more will follow.
"We're very happy to be the temporary guardians of this tradition, which is a very old tradition, something beloved in America," Hall said. "And we'll be happy to pass on to the next generation when the time comes."