(28 Nov 2019) A beautiful yet breezy day set the scene as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade rolled on after an anxious weather watch Thursday.
And while the beloved balloons flew lower than usual, spectators lined up a half-dozen deep along the route as leaves and confetti swirled in the wind.
For first-timers like Robert Depersio and young Fiona, both of New York, it was a great time.
Fiona was speechless when asked her reaction to seeing singer Idina Menzel.
A “Green Eggs and Ham” balloon joined the lineup this year, Smokey Bear returned for the first time since 1993, and spectators got to see new versions of favorites Snoopy and SpongeBob SquarePants.
The parade is one of the city’s most popular events, and features about 8,000 marchers, two dozen floats and marching bands, ending with an appearance from Santa Claus.
Among the performers scheduled for this year were actor Billy Porter of “Pose,” and singers Celine Dion, Kelly Rowland and Menzel.
“It was her first time ever seeing the parade, even though we’re New Yorkers. So, it was — seeing through a child’s eyes is always enjoyable,” said her mother Casey Ruben.
Wind had threatened to ground the giant inflated characters, with officials announcing less than an hour beforehand that the balloons could fly, if in a down-to-earth way.
The National Weather Service had projected sustained winds of up to 24 mph (39 kph) with gusts to 40 mph (64 kph) during the parade.
City rules require balloons to be grounded if sustained winds exceed 23 mph (37 kph) and gusts exceed 34 mph (55 kph). The balloons have been grounded only once for weather-related reasons, in 1971.
On Thursday, Macy’s Vice President Susan Tercero made an announcement a half-hour before the parade started that the balloons would fly, albeit at a lower level.
The character balloons can go as high as 55 feet (16 meters) off the ground and as low as 10 feet (3 meters).
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