NEW YORK CITY — In less than two weeks, dozens of giant balloons, floats and performers will make their way through the streets of New York for the 90th time as more than 50 million people watch Macy's annual Thanksgiving Day parade.

Preparations for the event - which stepped off for the first time in 1924 - are already underway, from a clown college for the performers to trial runs for the balloons and their handlers.

According to Macy's, this year's parade will feature 16 giant character balloons as well as 27 novelty/ornament balloons, balloonicles and trycaloons. There will also be 26 floats, about 1,100 cheerleaders and dancers, more than 1,000 clowns and 16 marching bands and performance groups and celebrities from all over the country, including U.S. Olympian Laurie Hernandez of Old Bridge.

Since its inception, Macy's says the parade has only been canceled once, during World War II.

"During a three-year period from 1941 until 1943, the event was put on hold due to the rationing of supplies such as rubber and helium and a moratorium on large public gatherings," Macy's said on its website.

The parade is the setting for the 1947  holiday film “Miracle on 34th Street.”

Toniann Antonelli is a social content producer for NJ 101.5. She can be reached at toniann.antonelli@townsquaremedia.com, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.