Photo courtesy of Wikipedia: tweber1 [CC BY-SA 2.0 
(], via Wikimedia Commons

by Diane Larson


On Thanksgiving Day morning, many wake up to the aroma of turkey roasting in the oven and cooking noises in the kitchen. It brings with it also the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on the television.  Macy’s has held their parade since 1924, this year marks its 94th parade.

Parades and Thanksgiving have been connected since 1920. Macy’s is the most famous, however, this New York department store’s parade was not the first.

Four years prior, in 1920, in Philadelphia, department store Gimbels, held the Gimbels Thanksgiving Day Parade. According to Wikipedia, Ellis Gimbel, the founder of the department store, “wanted his toy-land to be the destination of holiday shoppers everywhere. He sent more than 50 store employees dressed in costume to walk in their first Thanksgiving Day parade.”

No balloons in the Gimbel’s parade, but there were floats and Santa. According to “Pilgrims and parades: a brief history of Thanksgiving,” Gimbel’s Santa arrived on the eighth-floor toy department by climbing the ladder of a Philadelphia Fire Department truck.

The Gimbel’s parade is still going on but has since changed hands. But the Macy’s parade continues. It is also the “world’s largest parade,” says CBS New York.

It isn’t surprising to learn that the reason for the Thanksgiving Day parade actually hasn’t much to do with Thanksgiving. After all, they were designed and created by department stores. The Thanksgiving Day parade is actually all about the next big holiday.

In the beginning, according to, “It was called ‘Macy’s Christmas Parade.” Whatever the title, the now, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade continues to be a prelude to Christmas. Just as it is today, along with the Black Friday sales that begin on Thursday evening and continue through the season. And let’s not forget that in 1939 President Franklin D. Roosevelt changed the date of Thanksgiving for retailers so the shopping season would be extended.

But back in 1924 Macy’s was doing so well that they decided to expand. The expansion of the store covered the entire city block from Broadway to Seventh Avenue along 34th street.

“To showcase the opening of the “World’s Largest Store” and its 1 million square feet of retail space at the start of the busy holiday shopping season, Macy’s decided to throw New York a parade on Thanksgiving morning. In spite of its timing, the parade was not actually about Thanksgiving at all but the next major holiday on the calendar—Christmas. Macy’s hoped its “Christmas Parade” would whet the appetites of consumers for a holiday shopping feast,” according to

In the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade the employees of Macy’s, dressed in vibrant costumes, marched to the flagship store on 34th Street. The parade also consisted of floats, professional bands, and live animals from the Central Park Zoo.

At the end of the parade, in those days as well as today, Santa Claus was welcomed into Herald Square. Today Santa arrives in a sleigh pulled by his reindeer. But Wikipedia notes that “At this first parade, Santa was enthroned on the Macy’s balcony at the 34th Street store entrance, where he was then crowned ‘King of Kiddies.”

This first parade was a success with 250,000 people attending. In an advertisement in a newspaper the following day Macy said, “We did not dare dream its success would be so great,” said. They decided immediately to make it an annual event.

The balloons are an integral part of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. In the late 1920s, Anthony “Tony” Frederick Sarg, a marionettist, was hired by Macy’s to “design a window display of a parade for the store,” says Wikipedia. Sarg designed large animal shaped balloons and had them produced by Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. These balloons replaced the live animals in 1927.

The balloons were released into the air at the end of the 1928 parade, but quite unexpectedly they burst. The following year they attempted to fix the bursting issue with a redesign. Safety valves were installed which allowed them to float for days. Return addresses were sewn into the balloons so that whoever found them and returned the discarded balloon to Macy’s would receive a gift.

The parade continued to grow, reaching crowds of over one million lining the streets in the 1930s. It has been held almost every consecutive year following with one small exception. From 1942 to 1944 the parade was suspended because of WWII.  The need for rubber and helium for the war effort was great and couldn’t be used for the parade.

Then in 1945 the parade resumed and traveled along its previous route. On a side note, that same route was used until 2008.

The 1947 film, “Miracle on 34th Street” catapulted the parade into nationwide recognition. The next year, in 1948, it was broadcast nationally on CBS for the first time. In 1952 broadcasting of the parade changed to NBC. In years prior to 1948, the parade had only been broadcast on local stations. The first local TV broadcast of the parade was in 1939, according to Wikipedia.

The balloons used in the parade have been made by Raven Industries of Sioux Falls, South Dakota since 1984.

The first balloon that appeared was in 1931 and was Felix the Cat. Then in 1934 was the first balloon based on a living person appeared. It was a likeness of Eddie Cantor.

For whatever reason, the parade that was created all those years ago, in turn, created family traditions. Gathering around to watch the fantastical floats, the marvelous marching bands from schools across the country, the melodious music acts, and the brilliant balloons, is a ritual for many Americans on Thanksgiving morning.



 From the Department of Public Health and Human Services:


November 8, 2018 - The Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) has announced that donation boxes have been set up at various locations to receive holiday gifts that benefit Montana State Hospital (MSH) patients.


The effort is part of the annual Gifts With A Lift program that has played an instrumental role in spreading holiday cheer to patients for the past 66 years. The program ensures that all state hospital patients have a gift under the Christmas tree.


MSH Gifts With A Lift coordinator Beth Eastman said the program is very important to patients. “This program means the world to MSH patients, and helps brighten their day,” she said. “And, it’s been successful due to the amazing generosity of Montana residents, who are always there to help out their fellow citizens.”


The program is jointly coordinated by the National Alliance for Mental Illness-MT and DPHHS.


Ideas for gift suggestions include, but are not limited to the following: Pocket games/books, socks, T-Shirts/sweatshirts, cards, winter hats/adult winter gloves, magazines, fanny packs, phone cards, jackets, craft kits, batteries, slippers, blankets/ throws, headphones, handheld AM/FM radios, postage stamps and stationery. MSH is especially in need of winter coats for men and women in sizes L - 3X.


Individuals or service organizations interested in ‘adopting’ a patient are encouraged to contact Eastman at 406-693-7145.


Gifts mailed to the hospital should not be wrapped; however, donations of wrapping paper and gift boxes are welcome. “Please include a name and address in the package and a return receipt so we may acknowledge the arrival of your gifts,” Eastman said.


Gifts or cash donations can be mailed to Gifts With A Lift, c/o Beth Eastman, PO Box 300, Montana State Hospital, Warm Springs, MT 59756. In order to arrive in time for the holidays, gifts should be dropped off or mailed by December 15. Make checks payable to: Gifts With A Lift.


MSH is the only publicly operated inpatient psychiatric hospital in the state. It provides treatment to adults who have serious mental illnesses and who are referred from hospitals, mental health programs, and district courts from across the state.


Gifts can also be dropped off at any of the following locations:


Rainbow House
925 North 18th
Billings, MT 59101


Silver House
106 West Broadway
Butte, MT 59701


555 Fuller, Suite 3
Helena, MT 59601


New Directions
621 1st Ave. South
Great Falls, MT 59401


Center for Mental Health
900 North Jackson
Helena, MT 59601


Addictive and Mental Disorders Division-DPHHS
100 N. Park Ave., Ste. 300
Helena, MT  59601


Adult Services
1315 Wyoming
Missoula, MT 59801


Montana State Hospital
PO Box 300
Warm Springs, MT 59756


Bozeman Daily Chronicle
2820 W. College St.
Bozeman, MT  59771


Anaconda-Deer Lodge County Courthouse
MSU Extension Office, Third Floor
800 Main St.
Anaconda, MT  59711



Click on the image for today's top stories. 


Monday, October 22, 2018 - The Trump administration moves to narrow the definition of sexual identity. Also on the Monday rundown: is climate change causing

a shift eastward for Tornado Alley? Plus Election Day should find more polling places on Nevada Tribal Lands. 

Big Sky Connection


Click on the image to listen to the audio.

Eric Tegethoff

October 19, 2018

HELENA, Montana - The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case early next year that could have a big impact on Native Americans' hunting treaty rights.

The case involves Clayvin Herrera, a Crow tribal member who pursued an elk from his reservation in Montana into Wyoming and killed it there. Wyoming later charged him for hunting outside the established seasons.

Monte Mills, co-director of the Margery Hunter Brown Indian Law Clinic at the University of Montana, has filed a brief on behalf of other Native American law professors in support of Herrera.

"In defense," Mills says, "Mr. Herrera said, 'Well, I'm a member of the Crow Indian Tribe and I have a treaty right, by virtue of the tribe's treaty with the United States that allows me and authorizes me to hunt in certain areas, including on open lands owned by the United States.'"

The Wyoming court rejected this defense and Herrera was convicted and fined. Mills says Herrera's defense is based on the Laramie Treaty of 1868, which gives tribal members the right to hunt on unoccupied land.

Wyoming says that treaty became invalid when it became a state.

According to Mills, the Supreme Court has made conflicting rulings on how treaty rights are applied. He says this case could affect Native Americans and create a new precedent if the justices decide to analyze treaty rights in some new way.

"The questions of state authority and treaty interpretation," says Mills, "there's a long string of Supreme Court precedent that deal with those questions. And so, if the Court were to do something different in this case, that's really where it might have impact."

The Supreme Court will likely hear the case in January 2019 and announce its decision next summer.

by Diane Larson

Comedian Lewis Black said, “The worst thing about Halloween is, of course, candy corn. It’s unbelievable to me. Candy corn is the only candy in the history of America that’s never been advertised. And there’s a reason. All of the candy corn that was ever made was made in 1911. And so, since nobody eats that stuff, every year there’s a ton of it left over.”

The Halloween favorite is one of those candies that people seem to love or hate. However, statistics show that while Mr. Black’s observation may be funny, it is inaccurate. reported in 2017 that of 2,201 respondents, 49% thought Candy Corn tasty, 29% believe it is gross and a pragmatic 23% said that they didn’t like it but yielded to its importance to the Halloween season. So, Mr. Black you are in the minority, more people love it than hate it.

Is Candy Corn your favorite, or do you avoid it? What is the favorite when it comes to Halloween candy? sifted through 10 years of data to conclude that M&Ms is the favorite Halloween candy. Second place is held by Reese’s Cups while candy corn shares the third place slot with Skittles.

While candy corn may not be a Halloween favorite, most may agree that it is a staple of the fall season and holiday.

Candy corn has been around since the 1880s and was invented by a man named George Renninger.

Renninger worked for the “Wunderlee Candy Company” in Philadelphia, PA, where it was originally produced by hand. Sometime after its creation and original production at Wunderlee, the sweet corn began being mass produced by ”Goelitz Confectionery Company” and made available to the public. The Goelitz Confectionery Company would later be named “Jelly Belly,” says

“Goelitz,” now “Jelly Belly,” has been producing the candy since 1898.

“At the beginning, candy corn was actually called “chicken feed,” according to At the time corn was not a staple on any dining room table but mainly used as, well, chicken feed.

For many years candy corn was not associated with Halloween. However, it was a “seasonal candy due to the tedious nature of the work. Chicken feed was only available between March and November,” says

Early production of the tri-colored treat was done by hand. According to, “A sugar and corn syrup-based mixture was cooked into a slurry (a semi-liquid mixture) in a large kettle, dumped into buckets called runners, and men dubbed stringers walked backward, pouring the hot concoction into a tray of molds in the shape of corn kernels.”

“The worker passed over the buckets three times, each time with a different color: White, orange, and yellow. Fun fact: candy corn is made from the bottom to the top. The yellow bit is the top and the with is the bottom.” Says

Candy corn was packed in the standard packaging at the time, wooden boxes, and sold. They were also packed in barrels and sold in bulk in many candy stores.

Clear cellophane bags came into use in the 1940s. You could then, purchase a 1 pound bag of candy corn for .25 cents. This improvement also allowed for further shipping because the candy stayed fresh longer.

The demand for candy corn kept increasing, at times, to the point that “Goelitz had to turn down orders. They didn’t have the production capacity to keep up with its popularity,” says By 1951 Goelitz had 12 factories around the country making candy corn.

Today it is estimated, by the National Confectioners Association, that 25 million lbs. of candy corn are sold annually around the world.

Head to the store and get your supply, not only for the Halloween holiday but also for October 30, which is National Candy Corn Day.