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Macy's hires 1,000 people for the Thanksgiving Day Parade—here's what it takes to get the job

Across the country, Americans will start their Thanksgiving celebrations by watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

This year, the 92nd parade is expected to entertain 3.5 million spectators on the streets of Manhattan and over 50 million television viewers. The parade will include 59 balloons, 26 floats, 1,200 cheerleaders and dancers, 12 marching bands and over 1,000 clowns, not to mention performances by John Legend, Leona Lewis, Martina McBride, Rita Ora, Pentatonix and Diana Ross.

To make this possible, Macy's hires some extra help.

The company is one of the biggest retail employers in the country, with about 130,000 employees. In September, Macy's announced that it plans to hire 80,000 additional workers over this holiday season alone. The company will also bring on staff dedicated to working at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

"Approximately 1,000 people will be hired across the country to support the 92nd annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Santalands and other iconic holiday events," a Macy's rep told CNBC Make It.

Revellers take part during during the 91st annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 23, 2017 in New York City.
Maite H. Mateo/VIEWpress/Corbis via Getty Images
Revellers take part during during the 91st annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 23, 2017 in New York City.

"It's really interesting how many people join us for the holiday season thinking they're going to have a holiday job and end up staying with us longer," Laura Britton, Vice President of Talent Acquisition at Macy's, tells CNBC Make It. "About 37 percent of our entire stores population join us in October, November or December."

Planning for the parade begins months in advance. In 2016, John Piper, Vice President at Macy's Parade Studio visited CNBC's "Power Lunch" to talk about his role overseeing the design and production of all balloons, floats and elements for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Macy's Debuts Balloons For The 2018 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 3, 2018 in New York City.
Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images
Macy's Debuts Balloons For The 2018 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 3, 2018 in New York City.

"From the time a pencil touches the page to the time we test-fly the balloon in the air is usually about seven to nine months," said Piper, explaining the design and engineering that goes into creating the parade's signature balloons. "The final step is an outdoor inflation and test flight."

Piper said that while lots of hard work goes into making the parade a reality, he loves his job. "People say 'What do you do for a living?' and I tell them, and they go 'No way! Really? That's gotta be the coolest job in the world!'" said Piper. "I just say, 'Ya.'"

Piper's colleagues share his enthusiasm. "There is lots of excitement and activity at our hub in New York City and at our Parade Studio in [New Jersey], as more than two years of design, construction, creativity and planning come together for the 92nd edition of the iconic Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade," Susan Tercero, executive producer of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, told CNBC Make It via email earlier this week.

Macy's employees who want to get in on the festivities next year can apply for the chance to work the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade by visiting www.macysevents.com. Those who are not currently Macy's employees but want to join the "inflation celebration" can be sponsored by current Macy's employees. Those who like a challenge can cold e-mail mevents@macys.com to request an application.

Disclosure: NBC and CNBC are divisions of NBCUniversal.

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