NEW YORK. Crowds of spectators lined the streets of New York on Thursday as colorful high-flying balloons helped kick off the festive season during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
An annual tradition dating back nearly a century has filled the streets with a procession of giant inflatables and floats that stretches over 40 blocks from Central Park to Herald Square.
Children balanced on metal barricades and hung from scaffolding, watching balloons against a predominantly sunny sky and light breeze.
“Blue, blue. Here’s the blue one,” shouted 6-year-old Divyam Kumar as his father helped him and his 4-year-old brother Aan Aryan balance on the metal rail.
The teen was referring to the star of the animated show Blue’s Clues – not to be confused with international cartoon sensation Bluey, an Australian cattle pup making his parade debut.
Bluey’s balloon was the height of a four-story building and the width of seven taxis.
Stuart, the one-eyed minion, was also there to thrill the crowd.
Snoopy, dressed as an astronaut, reappeared, as did Papa Smurf, Ronald McDonald and SpongeBob.
This year’s parade in numbers: 16 giant balloons, 28 floats, 40 new and historic inflatables, 12 marching bands, 10 performance groups, 700 clowns and one Santa Claus.
The procession of characters was joined by singer Paula Abdul in her first parade appearance; indie pop band Fitz and the Tantrums; boy band Big Time Rush; “Blue’s Clues and You!” host Josh Dela Cruz; singer Gloria Estefan; gospel singer Kirk Franklin; actor Mario Lopez; reggae star Ziggy Marley; and Miss America 2022 Emma Broyles.
Singers Joss Stone, Jordyn Sparks and Betty Who will also be in the celebration, as will Peacock’s Pitch Perfect: Bumper in Berlin stars Adam Devine, Sarah Hyland and Flula Borg. Jimmy Fallon and The Roots will be on a platform dedicated to Central Park.
President Biden and Jill Biden were called to the parade, just like last year. Biden thanked the firefighters, police officers and rescuers, saying, “They never take a break.”
They thanked the troops, and Biden said he would be in touch with some of them today.
When asked about their plans for the day in Nantucket, the Bidens said it would involve family and some time on site, thanking the lifeguards.