Millions of Americans wake up in the morning on Thanksgiving and turn on the TV to watch giant floats and marching bands journey through the streets of New York City with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. We could skip all of that in our home, because to us, the best part is seeing Grandma the Clown from The Big Apple Circus. Every year we wait, and I’m proud to report Grandma will be on TV this year around 9:05.

There are some facts about the parade you may not be aware of. This parade doesn’t just happen magically, it happens with a lot of time and planning. There is a lot of history that goes behind it as well, so let’s fill you in:

1) Despite being America's most well-known Thanksgiving parade, it's actually not the oldest. That distinction belongs to Philadelphia, which began its parade four years earlier in 1920.

2) The parade started using giant inflatable animal balloons in 1928. Prior to that, real animals from New York's Central Park Zoo were part of the parade.

3) From 1928 until 1933, the giant helium-filled balloons were released into the sky at the end of the parade with a return address written on them. Anyone who found them would be urged to mail it back to the address. This practice was stopped after a pilot nearly crashed his plane.

4) From 1962 to 1971, NBC's coverage of the parade was hosted by Betty White and Bonanza star Lorne Greene.

5) The enormous balloons and floats are assembled in a warehouse in New Jersey.

Here's more about the Big Apple Circus,