Thousands enjoy the giant balloon parade in NY

NEW YORK (HPD) — Throngs of onlookers filled the streets of New York Thursday as colorful flying balloons ushered in the holiday season at the Macy’s department store Thanksgiving Day parade.

The annual tradition, dating back nearly a century, filled the streets as a procession of giant inflatables and floats made its way for more than 40 blocks, from Central Park to Herald Square.

Children balanced on metal barricades and hung from scaffolding to view the balloons under mostly sunny skies and a light breeze.

“Blue, Blue. There’s Blue,” shouted Divyam Kumar, 6, as his father helped him and his brother Aunu Aryan, 4, balance on the metal railing.

The little boy was referring to the star of the cartoon “Blue’s Clues,” not to be confused with international cartoon sensation Bluey, an Australian Shepherd puppy who made her parade debut. Bluey’s balloon reached the height of a four-story building and reached the length of seven taxi cabs.

The Minion Stuart was also there to the excitement of the spectators.

But it was Snoopy who caught 8-year-old Brenner Chernenko’s attention the most, even more than more contemporary characters. “He’s one of the classics,” said the boy from Rochester, New York, who was accompanied by his father Nate and his grandfather John Wopperer.

It was the first time that father and son witnessed the parade in person. Wopperer last attended three years ago, before the pandemic suspended the event for a year.

Snoopy, dressed as an astronaut, was followed by another all-time favorite, Papa Smurf.

In this year’s parade there were 16 giant balloons, 28 floats, 40 heritage and novelty inflatables, 12 marching bands, 10 performance groups, 700 clowns and one Santa Claus.

President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, just like last year, phoned organizers and thanked firefighters, police officers and first responders, saying, “They never take a break.” Both thanked the troops and Biden said that on this day he would also communicate with some soldiers.

When asked about their plans for the day in Nantucket, Massachusetts, the Bidens said it would involve family and some time with residents and thanking first responders.

The procession of characters was joined by the singer Paula Abdul, in her first appearance in the parade; indie pop band Fitz and the Tantrums; boy band Big Time Rush; the host of “Blue’s Clues & You!” Josh Dela Cruz; the singer Gloria Estefan; gospel singer Kirk Franklin; actor Mario Lopez; reggae star Ziggy Marley; and Miss America 2022, Emma Broyles.

Singers Joss Stone, Jordin Sparks and Betty Who also took part in the festivities, as did “Pitch Perfect: Bumper in Berlin” stars Adam Devine, Sarah Hyland and Flula Borg. Jimmy Fallon & The Roots will be on a float celebrating Central Park.

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Deepti Hajela and Kathy McCormack contributed to this report.

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