Tony Sarg's Balloon Dragon/Rat
"In 1928 Tony designed a series of helium filled, rubberized silk animal balloons for the Macy's Thanksgiving parade. Bil Baird supervised the construction, and called them "giant, upside down marionettes" as the strings were below them. One rubber dragon, the biggest, was 125 feet long and took 50 handlers to operate him. This balloon later floated over Long Island, while aviator Clarence Chamberlain was flying. The balloons had to be carefully moved under the NYC elevated train structure. One set paraded, and the second set was released and allowed to fly away when the parade reached Macy's store. Some of the balloons were found a hundred miles away. A reward was offered for their return in any condition. Kids shot the balloons with their air rifles, and the balloons were returned full of holes. In the minds of the public this gained Tony most of his fame in New York. Rubber balloons remain a tradition of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade." - quote source.
See more pictures from the dragon balloon here.
More vintage photos from another Macy's Thanksgiving parade around 1932 can be seen in this post at the Swapatorium.