Nation/World


A giant Uncle Sam balloon is marched down Sixth Avenue during the 87th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. (Associated Press)
A giant Uncle Sam balloon is marched down Sixth Avenue during the 87th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. (Associated Press)

Balloons take flight at Macy’s parade despite wind

NEW YORK – Revelers at this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade gave thanks for the giant balloons that flew above the city streets Thursday after a blustery storm accompanied by high winds nearly grounded them for only the second time in the parade’s 87-year history.

“The balloons are the best part,” 11-year-old Matthew Ragbe said as he watched them leave their launch pads on 77th Street and turn the corner to face the crowds of parade-goers, many of whom waited hours to secure a good viewing spot.

The tens of thousands of people lining the parade route were not disheartened by freezing temperatures or the drama over whether Spider-Man, Julius, Snoopy and SpongeBob SquarePants would make their scheduled appearances along with a dozen other puffed-up sky-bound creatures.

“We thought they’d find a way to pull it off,” said parade-goer John Mispagel, of San Jose, Calif.

Dozens of balloon handlers kept a tight grip on their inflated characters, keeping them close to the ground to fight winds that reached the mid-20 mph range.

Caution was necessary to prevent a recurrence of the kind of high-wind accident that crashed a Cat in the Hat balloon into a light pole in 1997, seriously injuring a spectator.

This year’s parade largely went off without a hitch, though Sonic the Hedgehog got briefly hung up in the branches of a tree and a spinning dreidel balloon became temporarily deflated on a float meant to mark the start of Hanukkah, which fell on Thanksgiving for the first time in centuries.


 

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