Balloons Over Broadway

  • by Louise Lareau

    One of my favorite Thanksgiving Day traditions is sitting down to watch the Macy's parade with a bagel and a cup of tea. Watching the parade helps get me ready for the long day of cooking that awaits.

    Last year, Melissa Sweet published a wonderful book entitled Balloons Over Broadway: the True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy's Parade. Tony Sarg first began working at Macy's when he was hired to create movable puppets for the store's holiday windows. In 1924, Macy's asked Sarg to help organize a parade for the families of their employees.

    Sweet's picture book biography describes how Sarg went from designing costumes and floats to creating magnificent helium-filled balloons that enthralled parade-goers. The book's artwork is fantastic and I encourage you to check out Melissa's website. The site has a "Make Stuff" section which includes a great Balloon Over Broadway Activity Kit. Two weeks ago, I used Melissa's dragon stick puppet template for our Thanksgiving craft program. The children and caregivers enjoyed making puppets which we then mounted on popsicle sticks. One can also skip the popsicle sticks and opt for taping the puppet to a helium-filled balloon. This way the puppets can float through the festivities on parade day.

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Gobble, gobble!