Balloons Over Broadway,
The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade
By Melissa Sweet
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011
Everyone knows about the Macy’s Parade on Thanksgiving and this is the story about how it got started. And it’s likely, that without the specific talents of Tony Sarg, the traditional holiday event may not exist today.
Anthony “Tony” Sarg loved to see how things worked when he was a boy. At age six, he announced he was going to be a marionette man. He was very clever and when his father asked him to feed the chickens at 6:30 in the morning—every day!—Tony rigged up a system that he could do so from his bed, and sleep in! Impressed, his father never asked him to do another chore.
As a young man Tony began making marionettes and ended up in New York City and performing on Broadway. Macy’s heard about Tony’s puppets and asked him to design a ‘puppet parade’ for the store’s holiday windows. The first outdoor parade was for the employees, and it was such a hit, it only grew from there.
Melissa Sweet’s brilliant illustrations take the reader back in time. The book includes a photo from an early parade balloon, as well as Macy’s original advertisement in the New York Times in 1933.