Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade: NBC Disappoints Viewers After Cutting Away to Old Footage After McDonald's Balloon Deflates

NBC viewers did not get to experience the deflated Ronald McDonald balloon during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade broadcast on Thursday, making some viewers feel like they missed out on the fun. The McDonald's mascot was not completely himself during the parade, after a hole ripped open in his leg. Rather than show off the balloon's damage during the windy day, NBC opted to show footage from last year's parade, when the balloon was uninjured.

The balloon was dragged along the parade route as the 3-inch cut only continued to grow. Some of the workers helping to guide the 67-foot-tall balloon told the New York Post they noticed the opening just before the parade began. Franki Primeggia said he noticed the rip "right out of the gate."

Thanks to the wind, officials waited until there was less than an hour to let volunteers know that the balloons would still go out. After they were given the sign to go out, "we got underneath the balloon, we all took a rope, they unnetted the balloon... and they saw it," Primeggia told the Post of the tear.

Richard Buran, a volunteer handling the right leg, said the wind helped push Ronald McDonald toward a tree branch near the Museum of Natural History. "When it came back I was able to see the leg deflating," he said.

Since the tear was so small at the beginning, it did not immediately alarm everyone. But by the time they got to Columbus Circle, the tear was getting worse. Primeggia said during a last-ditch attempt to keep the balloon in the air, the volunteers pulled on the ropes, which might have made the cut open wider.

"There were a couple of big gusts of wind," Primeggia said. "Some people were breaking out and scattered."

The balloon continued down the parade route until the volunteers were about 10 blocks from the flagship Macy's store.

"Some of the balloons suffered stress and tears during the overnight inflation which resulted in the Ronald McDonald giant balloon being pulled midway through the Parade,” Macy’s spokesman Orlando Veras told the Post.


During the broadcast, Today Show co-host Hoda Kotb announced the balloon had a rip. The broadcast then cut to footage from a previous parade.

The current Ronald McDonald balloon was introduced in 2015. It measures 61 feet long, 29 feet wide and 67 feet tall. The balloon will be repaired by the time next year's parade kicks off. Hopefully between now and then, a certain hamburglar will not get any funny ideas.