The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade has been taking place since the 1920's, so they've had plenty of opportunities for things to go wrong, and they have:
- In 1997, Kathleen Caronna was the victim of the infamous Cat in the Hat incident. When the Cat balloon got swept astray of the parade route by high winds, it ran into a lamp post and knocked it down - right in to Ms. Caronna, who was in a coma for a month afterward.
- In 1986, there were two incidents: a 61-year-old bagpiper had a fatal heart attack while marching in the parade, and a spectator fell out the fourth story window he was watching from and landed on someone below.
- In 1957, a downpour caused the hat on the Popeye balloon to fill up with rain. The added weight made the balloon veer off course, and eventually the cap could hold no more water and dumped gallons and gallons on surprised spectators.
- In 1993, the Sonic the Hedgehog balloon hit a lamppost and basically exploded. Part of the lamppost fixture fell and broke the shoulder of an off-duty policeman standing below.
- In 2006, two sisters were attacked by M&Ms. The ropes of the 515-pound balloon promoting the tasty chocolate morsels got caught up on a lamppost (I sense a theme here). Neither of the girls were hurt too badly - just some minor scrapes and bruises. In exchange for their ordeal, they received V.I.P. seats in the grandstand and a lifetime supply of M&Ms (384 packets every year).
- In 1936, the Father Diedrich Knickerbocker balloon deflated when his nose sprung a leak.
- In 1956, the parade was a total bust. Every single balloon (there were only three that year due to a helium shortage) got flattened by high winds.
- In 1995, a woman who was seven months pregnant was injured when a float knocked a traffic light into her. (Luckily, her injuries were minor.) Another lady fell through a subway grate. And a group of anti-fur protesters stripped down to nothing but Santa hats and tried to join the parade. They were arrested for public lewdness and indecent exposure.
Found at the Mental Floss blog