Longest-Running Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloon Character Revealed

Over the last century, it turns out Snoopy has appeared in more of these parades than any other character.

Plenty of colorful characters have joined the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade as balloons over the years, but none more often than Snoopy the beagle. The beloved Peanuts character has appeared in 42 parades so far according to an extensive count by fans and moderators over on Fandom. Depending on how you count participation, that is more than any other character or balloon.

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is best known for its megalithic-sized balloons floating down Broadway for the whole city – and usually the whole country – to see. The first parade was in 1924, so even with 42 appearances that means the Snoopy balloon has been in less than half of the parades to date. However, things get more complicated when you either widen or narrow the definition of participation. For example, the runner-up to Snoopy is Ronald McDonald, who has only made 29 appearances as a balloon. The McDonald's mascot has actually been in more parades overall though – if you count the ones where a human mascot was marching along.


Long before he ever became a balloon, Ronald McDonald led the McDonald's All-American High School Marching Band in ever Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade from 1966 to 1989. That means in 1987, 1988 and 1989, the balloon and the life-size mascot both participated in the parade. Adding those in person appearances brings Ronald's total to 52 parades, blowing Snoopy's record out of the water.

On the other hand, neither Snoopy nor Ronald has appeared in the same way that many times over. Snoopy's 42 parade appearances include eight different balloons – some for as many as 16 parades, some for as few as one. For many parade fans, these changes are as meaningful as adding in a new character, especially since they can change the size of the spectacle and the work needed to pull it off. Ronald McDonald has appeared as five different balloons so far.


Other notable parade staples include Rocky and Bullwinkle with 26 appearances, Kermit the Frog with 22 appearances and Pikachu with 22 appearances. After that comes Dino the Dinosaur, the mascot for Sinclair oil who has 21 parade appearances – surprisingly beating out Disney's Mickey Mouse with 20 appearances. Mickey is tied with Smokey the Bear who has also floated through the parade 20 times, and rounding out the top 12 are Big Bird, Spider-Man, Garfield and SpongeBob SquarePants.

This year, the top spot will be a stalemate as the Snoopy "Beagle Scout" balloon is back for its second parade appearance, while Ronald McDonald's "Heart" balloon is back as well. Others on this list including Dino, Smoky and SpongeBob are back as well, but some of the heavy-hitters are taking a year off. You can look at the lineup ahead of time on the Macy's website or just catch the parade on Thanksgiving Day on NBC.