The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade takes place Thursday in New York City. Here are five things to know about the beloved Thanksgiving tradition.

1. The parade began in 1924 as a Christmas-themed parade intended to celebrate the expansion of Macy’s now-famous Manhattan store. The participants in the first parade were mainly Macy’s employees, but professional entertainers also performed for the crowd.

2. Macy’s president Jack Straus canceled three years of the parade during World War II and donated 650 pounds of scrap rubber from the balloons to the military.

3. The now-famous balloons made their debut in 1927, when three balloons -- Felix the Cat, a dragon and a toy soldier -- floated along the parade route. The tallest balloon used in the Macy’s parade was an 80-foot Superman balloon in 1980. Today, all of the balloons are designed by Macy’s in-house artists and directed by “balloon pilots.”

4. The parade has seen many a balloon-related mishap. In the early years, Macy’s released the balloons and challenged spectators to catch them for reward money. In 1932, handlers released a 60-foot cat balloon, which was spotted by an aviation student during flying lessons. The student decided to ram the plane into the cat’s neck for some reason, and the plane plummeted to earth. Her instructor took control and saved them both, but handlers stopped releasing balloons after the incident. In 1957, rains drenched the parade and pooled in the hat of a Popeye balloon, but it got too heavy, tipped over and soaked the crowd below. There are countless other tales of balloons being punctured, catching fire, tearing, crashing and even colliding with the announcer’s booth.

5. Snoopy has appeared more than any other balloon character throughout the years, making 39 appearances from the parade’s inception through 2015. In 2016, he was replaced by Charlie Brown.