Thanksgiving is steeped in tradition: the food, the family and the parade.
Following a scaled back, televised version of its famous celebration in 2020, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will once again fill the streets – and skies – of New York City. And Messer, an industrial and medical gas company with headquarters in Bridgewater, will continue its own tradition of supplying helium for the event to give the parade’s iconic balloons their lift.
“Thanks to our strong relationship, we knew we could count on Messer for the helium supply for this year’s Parade,” said Macy’s Branded Entertainment Senior Director Christopher Bannon in a statement. “We’re looking forward to kicking off the holiday season with this cherished tradition in New York City.”
Messer’s helium starts its journey at a plant in Otis, Kan. where it is refined, liquified and then put into a trailer for shipment to its next stop in Bethlehem, Pa., where the company operates a helium trans-fill facility.
There, the pure helium liquid is converted to gas and compressed into high-pressure tube trailers that are then trucked to Manhattan. On the eve of the holiday, workers begin inflating balloons, like Astronaut Snoopy and SpongeBob Square Pants, using a special apparatus Messer said it customized just for the parade.
Finally, before making their way onto the parade route on Thanksgiving day, the balloons are topped off with more helium on Thursday.
You can learn more about the process with Messer’s infographic, available here.
According to Messer, it is the largest privately held industrial gas business in the world. Before it was acquired by Messer in 2019, Linde provided helium for the annual parade. In 2019, the relationship hit its 25-year mark.