To many, the highlight of the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, besides the balloons, is the first official appearance of Santa Claus. Along with Mrs. Claus, the bearded, jolly sight of Saint Nick serves as an early warning signal to revelers that the Christmas shopping season is underway. After all, the parade is sponsored by a department store.
But did you know that years before New York State legalized same-sex marriage, the event featured a certain cross-dressing Bensonhurst native as Mrs. Claus?
Well, sort of.
Broadway star and self-described “nice Jewish boy from Bensonhurst” Harvey Fierstein went as Edna Turnblatt, his character from the musical Hairspray – who in turn came to the 2003 parade dressed as Mr. Claus’ better half.
And while he didn’t get a chance to accompany Santa on the main Christmas-themed float, Harvey did manage to fire off an op-ed in the New York Times the day before. Titled You Better Watch Out, the piece gleefully announced that “the Santa in New York’s great parade will be half of a same-sex couple.” Talk about family values!
Website MNN.com warns those who took offense at Fierstein’s appearance in 2003 to watch out this year. The 2011 parade will feature drag queens from the more recent Broadway hit Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.