If you ask anyone a memorable part of Thanksgiving you will surely here people list off some of their favorite foods but it is also likely that you will here some talk about the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. This parade is the second oldest Thanksgiving Day parade in America and has been running since 1924 only ceasing in running during World War II because of the war’s need for rubber and helium. Every year people line up along the parade route and await the passing of the inflatables and entertainers. While the floats have changed over the years there have certainly been floats along the way that have become favorites and will remain near and dear to the hearts of the parade enthusiasts for years to come.
Felix the Cat – Felix the Cat is a special float because he was the first float to ever premier in the Macy’s Day Parade in 1927. Prior to the inaugural float appearance the parade goers were entertained by Macy’s employees and professional entertainers dressed up in new and exciting costumes and marched from 145th street in Harlem to the Macy’s flagship store in Herald Square. When Felix premiered in the parade he was a loved character across the country and those attending the parade were likely thrilled and amazed at the larger-than-life cat floating before them.
Astronaut Snoopy – In 1972 after floats had been used for decades we saw the premier of Astronaut Snoopy floating along the parade route. This Charles Schultz character was a loveable pup that children and adults alike read about in their comic strips since 1950. Charlie Brown’s best friend was made into an astronaut for this parade to pay tribute to Apollo 11. This was not Snoopy’s first appearance and it would not be his last, he appeared in 1968 as an aviator and would appear again 20 years after his premier in the parade in 1988 alongside his avian pal, Woodstock.
Sonic the Hedgehog – This character is particularly relevant right now because as the Thanksgiving holiday is upon us you can expect to find him making his way along the parade route this year. This will be a second appearance for the blue hedgehog as he first appeared in the parade in 1993. Sonic was the first video game character to ever make an appearance in the parade but he would not be the last. There have been other characters in the parade who first found fame in television or card games and were then transformed into video game characters.
The route of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has changed over the years as have the featured characters but people continue to watch the parade from their televisions or from the streets lining the current route between 77th and Central Park West and Herald Square. They are given the opportunity to see the floats, performers, and other entertainers along with Santa who steps out for the first time of the year at the parade.
It is no surprise that technology is always evolving very quickly throughout various industries at all times. This is no different for the world of inflatables, which lend themselves to make more than just bounce houses and inflatable slides. As I have mentioned before in this blog, inflatables are used for a number of purposes in safety and medical fields. For instance, an older post discussed how hospitals were beginning to use inflatables as a way to transport obese patients safely and efficiently. Inflatables have also been used in car safety tests, including the addition of inflatable seatbelts for children. Now inflatables are being considered in both design and function of some vehicles that haven’t hit the market yet.
An article from Motor Trend explains the newest way that inflatables are being incorporated into vehicles at a Swedish airbag company:
“…[it} has been impossible to achieve…those delicate, easy-to-see-around roof pillars. Fat pillars lend a cartoonish, brutish mien to every retromobile out there. The solution comes from an unlikely source — Swedish airbag supplier Autoliv — and, in fact, it leverages airbag technology. But instead of inflating a cloth bag, it inflates a folded steel tube that is integral to the vehicle’s body structure. Up until now, the only way to make a car capable of supporting one and a half times its weight on the roof (as required in 2012) was by giving all the pillars a thick, beefy section.”
Inflatable steel, you say? Not exactly. Motor Trend says that when an accident is detected, the car would pop off its interior trim and inflate a section of pleated metal that protects passengers (and driver) in a collision. The pillar that inflates up would actually use the same method as an airbag, but with much more force:
“The tube is made of 0.06-inch-thick steel that’s typical automotive-grade strength (58 kilos/square inch yield–high-strength steel is too brittle for this type of application). It’s welded closed on each end and weighs 3.5 ounces, representing a 10-percent weight savings. Cost is little more than the price of the inflators.”
Inflation safety systems are also being implemented in some Mercedes’ models in a side door impact beam, but this technology is readily available as of yet. It’s just good to see that we are making cars safer (and better looking!) by using inflatable innovations!
If you are a charity organizer or simply a volunteer for your children’s school, you know how difficult it can be to get people excited for your planned events. Be it a small carnival with proceeds going to charity or simply a fun run, it can be hard to get people to attend, much less have a good time. Keeping this in mind, consider the effect that inflatables can have in these situations. By having one or two exciting inflatables at your event, families will have an excellent time. Here are some inflatables that are great at these functions:
Boot Camp Challenge – Some of the best inflatables available for events are those rooted in competitions between people – the competitive spirit is particularly alive when you pit mom vs. daughter or father vs. son. The Boot Camp Challenge is a perfect inflatable battleground for determining a winner in these matchups. Featuring several different types of obstacles like vertical pillars and lazer beams (elastic – not real lasers!) the Boot Camp Challenge is a great addition to your event’s entertainment!
The Lagoon of Doom – Here’s a particularly special inflatable that will get the whole family involved in the activities. Pick a pair of people and put them on the spinning log in the middle of an inflatable swamp. Whoever can stay on the log for the longest wins and the first to fall gets attacked by an inflatable alligator or two. So spin as quickly as you can to knock your family off the log!
Heavy Hitter – This inflatable is more a game of skill than it is of knocking over your mom or dad. A column of air balances a tee ball in front of the batter to swing at. If the batter can hit it into one of the target holes in the backdrop, they are the true home run hero! Better yet, this inflatable will actually return the ball to its original position!