The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is among the more baffling holiday traditions out there. Maybe it makes sense if you're in New York, but millions of people elsewhere sit down to watch a parade on TV. Parades are boring in real life! And this isn't just any parade. This is, at this point, little more than a really long advertisement for kids movies and food companies. But we're not here to take the thing down -- it's way too established for that. Instead, we've scoured the list of entrants for the ten most absurd things we could find. It all seems pretty vanilla on TV, but seeing it written down like this is a pretty eye-opening experience. Use it like a scavenger hunt or go make bingo cards or something for tomorrow. 10. Smurf Giant Balloon Even though there's a Smurf movie coming out in 2011, bizarrely, the Smurf balloon is a Macy's Parade staple. We're talking about a shirtless, pajama'd blue cartoon that is the size of Godzilla. COME AND PLAY WITH PAPA SMURF, KIDS!
9. Despicable Me's Statue of Liberty Float A Statue of Liberty Float, sure. It's New York, it's America, it's patriotic. But... this one's sponsored by the Despicable Me movie. Which is a movie about supervillans. Now, we haven't seen the movie, but we assume this means the Statue of Liberty will be under attack in some way. Which we're sure no one will misinterpret.
8. Kung Fu Panda Giant Balloon Two things here: The movie came out two years ago. They're doing a Holiday Special this year and turning it into a TV show, but still -- the budget for an animated Holiday Special is sufficiently large to put a fifty foot balloon in this parade? The other thing has nothing to do with the movie itself and everything to do with how excited we are to have an ass-kicking panda bear kick-jumping its way through Manhattan at two miles per hour.
7. Rocking Lobster Float What does this mean? A lobster playing guitar solos? A lobster you can stick your kids on and it rocks back and forth? A rock lobster? A tribute to the song "Rock Lobster" by the B-52s?
6. Half-Baked Holiday Sweets Clowns This sounds terrifying, like some kind of Christmas cookie- and hard drug-fueled nightmare. There are plenty of examples of bad things happening when children are lured with sweets, from Hansel & Gretel to The Chronicles of Narnia to the pedophile in the unmarked van. Stay the hell away from these guys.
5. Oneida Indian Nation's True Spirit of Thanksgiving Float There is an inherent contradiction here. Not that we object to Native Americans celebrating their contributions to the Thanksgiving Feast. But when you take the broader view, you have the European dinner guests killing 98 percent of their hosts with forced migration and disease and guns. So, uh, sorry about that, but what we can offer you guys is the chance to decorate a pick-up truck and drive around our cultural capitol to celebrate your society that we destroyed.
4. Jimmy Dean Shine On! Float The marketing message here is that, if you eat the protein-rich Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage, you will be able to Shine On! throughout the day. That works if you're a protein bar company or a health food pusher or something, but whenever we eat Jimmy Dean for breakfast, we just want to take a nap. Also, this is a sausage float, which we find funny for some reason.
3. Elves -- Blue, Yellow & Red Novelty Balloon Red and green, folks: Those are the Christmas colors. Sometimes white. And if you're trying to be politically correct, maybe you stay away from something that is both directly tied to Christmas and potentially offensive to little people.
2. Kanye West Nothing says festive like a man who just released an epic, raw screed equally critical of American society and himself. Let's celebrate the Holidays with a toast to the douche bags.
1. US Pizza Team This, we realize, is a Macy's day tradition. But it is so amazingly American to have an actual competitive team devoted to making the ultimate drunk food. No insult meant on this one: we love watching dough flying through the air as much as anyone. It's the perfect way to get pumped up for the insane amount of food we're about to shovel down.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.