Posted on Leave a comment

Thanksgiving Day: Macy’s Parade balloons fly in New York

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionThe Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons float low for safety reasons

For many in the US, it’s as important as turkey on Thanksgiving Day.

But there were fears the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade could be hit by strong winds which result in its giant balloons being grounded.

However, the weather in New York City calmed in time for the start of the annual procession, meaning they could fly high as intended.

Safety rules were put in place after a Cat in the Hat balloon hit a lamppost in high winds in 1997, injuring four spectators.

Those guidelines say the inflatables must be kept out of the air if there are winds of more than 23mph (37 km/h) and gusts of 34 mph.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the balloons would take part in the annual parade early on Thursday, tweeting: “Good News, New York City: the winds are holding and the #MacysThanksgivingDayParade balloons will FLY!”

Some were flown a little closer to the ground to make them easier to handle, and the weather was monitored throughout the procession in case the wind picked up.

Thousands turned out in the city centre for the spectacle, with millions more across the nation watching the Thanksgiving tradition – now in its 93rd year – unfold on television.

The Snoopy balloon at the Macy's Parade

Image copyright
Reuters

The Snoopy balloon at the Macy's Parade

Image copyright
Getty Images

Snoopy is a regular sight at the parade. This year, the cartoon beagle’s outfit was a Nasa spacesuit, to signify the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing. It was the eighth different version of Snoopy to take part in the event.

The Snoopy balloon stands at 49ft (15m) tall. The first time Snoopy took part in the parade was in 1968, and the character was reworked as an Apollo astronaut the following year.

The Diary of a Wimpy Kid balloon at the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade

Image copyright
Getty Images

The massive helium-inflated balloons are handled by volunteers, with up to 90 people helping to guide them down the city streets in some cases. The handlers dress to match their character, with the Diary of a Wimpy Kid balloon handlers wearing a tabard that had a green and yellow scarf design.

The Macy's Thanksgiving Parade

Image copyright
Getty Images

In all, there were more than 8,000 participants and dozens of floats, Macy’s said.

Spectators started to arrive from 06:00, some three hours before the parade began.

The Macy's Thanksgiving Parade

Image copyright
Reuters

The Spongebob SquarePants balloon at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Image copyright
Reuters

The celebration began in the 1920s. It also involves marching bands, clowns and performers who this year included Celine Dion.

A marching band performing as part of the parade

Image copyright
Reuters

Despite the weather holding off, there were some casualties – the Ronald McDonald balloon appeared to partly deflate.

Ronald McDonald balloon at the Macy's Parade

Image copyright
Reuters

Ronald McDonald balloon at the Macy's Parade

Image copyright
Getty Images

All pictures subject to copyright.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *