NEW YORK — Giant balloons, floats, marching bands and clowns with confetti brought smiles to thousands of revelers today eager to catch a glimpse of a parade as steeped in Thanksgiving Day tradition as turkey and pumpkin pie.
Thousands lined the streets of Manhattan for the 83rd annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, while crowds gathered nationwide for parades in cities such as Detroit and Philadelphia.
Miss America Katie Stam waved to crowds from a Statue of Liberty float she shared with Meb Keflezighi, the first American in 11 years to win the New York City Marathon.
Shailesh Dighe and his family came to the fabled New York City parade to snap pictures of celebrities including rapper Jay Sean and singer-actress Keke Palmer. Despite the crowds, Dighe said the parade is “totally worth it.”
“When you watch it on TV, you don’t get that feeling,” said Dighe, who splits his time between Manhattan and Princeton, N.J.
For the first time, the parade route bypassed Broadway, which cuts a diagonal slice through Manhattan, as it made its way south from the Upper West Side to the finish at Macy’s flagship store in Herald Square.
The new route traverses the grid of the city’s streets and avenues, includes turns around five corners, and is slightly longer than in previous years.
Johanna Castillo, 38, of Guttenberg, N.J., said the new route seemed to better accommodate the crowds.
“I was very blessed to get here at the time I did and find a spot” a half-hour before parade time, said Castillo, who arrived with her two children.
Performers in the parade included Italian tenor Andrea Boccelli, comedian Jimmy Fallon, former “American Idol” star Katharine McPhee and singers Gloria Gaynor and Carly Simon.
Elsewhere, tens of thousands gathered in the streets of downtown Detroit for the 83rd annual America’s Thanksgiving Parade. The country’s longest-run Thanksgiving Day parade was held in Philadelphia for its 90th year.
Aboard the space shuttle Atlantis, astronauts expecting to give thanks with pantry leftovers were surprised by turkey dinners with candied yams, freeze-dried cornbread stuffing and green beans — just add water. NASA suspected the station’s new skipper was responsible for the Thanksgiving feast.
President Barack Obama enjoyed a quiet holiday at the White House with his family and telephoned 10 members of the U.S. military stationed in war zones to thank them for their service.
Dense fog delayed some flights today for Thanksgiving travelers headed to the Washington and Baltimore areas.
The Federal Aviation Administration says the fog prompted a ground stop for flights arriving this morning at all three Washington-area airports. Departing flights were apparently not affected. The FAA lifted its ground stop by 10:30 a.m.