Behind the brick walls of a top secret building on the banks of a Meadowlands bog in Moonachie can be found a hive of creativity and laughter that yearly delivers an American holiday tradition.
Photo of one of the five new floats, Shimmer and Shine Nickelodeon for this year’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, photographed at the Macy’s Parade Studio in Moonachie on 11/14/17. (Photo: Mitsu Yasukawa/NorthJersey.com)
The Macy’s Parade Studio, a 75,000-square-foot building on State Street, is the headquarters of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The Turkey Day spectacle is in its 91st year and, five new floats will roll out from the Moonachie facility.
Shimmer and Shine by Nickelodeon, Everyone’s Favorite Bake Shop by Entenmann’s, Harvest in the Valley by Green Giant, Universal Playground by Sour Patch Kids Candy, and Fun House by Spout will debut in this year’s parade and have been conceived and executed by an army of designers and engineers, who worked to create innovative floats for each year’s parade.
“We have a full-time staff of 30 at the studio,” said Susan Tercero, Group Vice President of Special Productions at Macy’s.
Photo of two of the five new floats, Shimmer and Shine Nickelodeon (L) and Bake Shop by Entenmnn’s for this year’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, photographed at the Macy’s Parade Studio in Moonachie on 11/14/17. (Photo: Mitsu Yasukawa/NorthJersey.com)
The floats are designed in early spring and production of the moving works of art starts in April or May. Animation was the biggest innovation for this year’s floats, Tercero said.
The Shimmer and Shine float, based on the hit Nickelodeon CG-animated preschool series about two genies-in-training, brings the magical genie land of Zahramay Falls to life, and features an abundance of moving parts. From a motorcycle riding genie, a baby tiger playing hide-and=seek and smoke rising from genie bottles, the float is a sight to behold. Glitter, hanging beads and bright and iridescent colors bedeck the structure, all of which are sure to shine on parade day.
“It’s one of the most animated floats we’ve done,” Tercero said.
John Piper, Vice-President of Macy’s Parade Studio, said they had a lot of fun bringing Nickelodeon’s float to life.
“I think we used about 50 pounds of glitter on this float alone, just making everything shine and sparkle all the way through with all of the different characters,” Piper said. “The kids are going to have to look closely because every character is on board but they’re not all in the same spot.”
A surprise float, which was is not at the studio, will also be debuting this year and is sponsored by Macy’s. The surprise will stand over 30 feet tall and feature more than 100 Macy’s employees from around the country, who auditioned to sing during the parade.
Students from nine different schools and a Girl Scout troop stopped by the studio to see the culmination of 18 months of work. Sarah Rosenberg and Vianna Kopylov, both 10 and students at Dennis B. O’Brien Elementary School in Rockaway Township were blown away by this year’s floats.
“I liked learning how the floats were put together and work,” Rosenberg said, who was on her second visit to the studio.
For Kopylov, it was her first time there and said everything inside was big and pretty and cool. Her favorite float? The Green Giant because of the scope of detail. Rosenberg’s favorite was the Bake Shop, with its bright colors and tasty looking treats.
But for John Piper, choosing a favorite is like choosing a favorite grandchild. He can lovingly describe the details of each float and what makes them so exciting and unique.
“Whoever is sitting on your knee at that moment is your favorite,” Piper said with a laugh.
Piper said the parade doesn’t end with Santa Claus for the workers and creators. Before the parade even starts, the organizers and producers and creative teams are already working on the following year’s parade.
Photo of two of the five new floats, Bake Shop by Entenmnn’s (L) and Parade Day Mischief Sour Patch Kids Candy for this year’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, photographed at the Macy’s Parade Studio in Moonachie on 11/14/17. (Photo: Mitsu Yasukawa/NorthJersey.com)
From start to finish, it takes about 18 months to plan the parade and they look for ways to top themselves, said Tercero.
“We’re always thinking about what we can do next year,” Tercero said, adding that creative team always tries to build on its experience in thinking ahead. “You have to be able to be current and relevant and find new stuff and new ways to impress and surprise and delight the audience.”
The 91st Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will also feature the debut of a brand-new PAW Patrol balloon featuring Chase the heroic rescue pup from Nickelodeon and Spin Master’s hit CG-animated preschool series, and the return of two Nickelodeon fan-favorite returning Nickelodeon elements: the holiday-themed SpongeBob SquarePants square-shaped giant balloon; and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles float featuring Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo against a spectacular New York cityscape. Joining the Heroes in A Half-Shell aboard the float will be Kat Graham, who will voicing April O’Neil in Nickelodeon’s upcoming brand-new 2D animated TMNT series, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, set to debut in 2018. Full information about Nickelodeon’s 91st Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade floats and balloons can be found here.
Taking place on Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017, the 91st Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade steps off from 77th Street and Central Park West at 9 a.m. ET/PT and will be broadcast nationwide on NBC-TV from 9:00 a.m. – Noon in all time zones.
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