Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Viewers Gush Over SpongeBob Squarepants Balloon

It was another hit year for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and many fans still can't get over the SpongeBob SquarePants balloon. The cartoon sponge has become an animation icon in the last few decades, earning him a spot in the ranks of parade float royalty. This year, he made a particular splash.

This year, Macy's unveiled SpongeBob SquarePants' third balloon in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, according to its official Twitter account. The balloon showed SpongeBob in a triumphant pose with his fists pumping beside his face and his big, bucktoothed grin hanging over Manhattan.

SpongeBob's pete snail, Gary, was perched on the back of his head, smiling down as well. The whole balloon looked incredible from far off, though in the tightly packed city streets, some people online wondered what SpongeBob and Gary must have looked like.

"I'm thinking about all the people in those buildings that thought they'd have an awesome view and instead all they can see is the top of SpongeBob's butt," one person tweeted.

"Of course, an all time favorite, SpongeBob SquarePants & his buddy, Gary! Flying low but they were flying!" added another.

SpongeBob was popular nonetheless, with many people remarking on his incredible legacy in the world of animation. The show premiered in 1999, and instantly stole the hearts of millions. It was created by Stephen Hillenburg, who passed away in November of 2018.

The first SpongeBob balloon in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade debuted in 2004, the same year that The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie premiered. According to the parade's unofficial wiki, he was the first square-shaped balloon ever to be featured.

The balloon was retired in 2006, but then returned by popular demand in 2008. It then became a staple of the parade until 2012, when the SpongeBob balloon was re-done, bigger and better than ever. That version featured a Santa Claus hat, as SpongeBob had just been named Macy's official Holiday Ambassador.

That balloon remains at the Macy's Float Warehouse, while this year's new model took its maiden voyage. The balloon was meant to promote the SpongeBob franchise's 20th-anniversary, to promote the upcoming movie Sponge on the Run and of course to commemorate Hillenburg.

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The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run represents a bold new era for the character, who appears entirely rendered in 3D animation. The movie follows SpongeBob and Patrick to Atlantic City to track down a "snailnapper" who has taken Gary hostage.

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run premieres in theaters everywhere on May 22, 2020.