Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City: 16 giant balloons and 700 clowns

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Crowds of onlookers lined the streets of New York on Thursday as colorful, high-flying balloons helped usher in the holiday season during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The annual tradition, dating back nearly a century, filled the streets with a procession of giant inflatables and floats for more than 40 blocks from Central Park to Herald Square.

Children balanced on metal barricades and hung from scaffolding to watch the balloons amid mostly sunny skies and a light breeze.

“Blue Blue. There’s Blue,” shouted Divyam Kumar, 6, as his father helped balance him and his brother Aanu Aryan, 4, on a metal railing.

The young man was referring to the star of the animated show “Blue’s Clues”, not to be confused with international cartoon sensation Bluey, an Australian cattle calf making her parade debut.

Bluey’s balloon was as tall as a four-story building and as wide as seven cabs.

Stuart the one-eyed Minion was also there to get the crowd excited.

But it was Snoopy that particularly caught the eye of 8-year-old Brenner Chenenko, even more than more contemporary pups.

“It’s one of the classics,” said the young man from Rochester, New York, who lined the parade route with his father Nate and grandfather John Wopperer.

It was the first time father and son had seen the parade in person. Wopperer last watched a live parade three years ago, before the pandemic sidelined the event for a year.

Snoopy, dressed as an astronaut, was followed by another old favorite, Papa Smurf.

This year’s parade featured 16 giant balloons, 28 floats, 40 heritage and novelty inflatables, 12 marching bands, 10 performance groups, 700 clowns and a Santa Claus.

The procession of characters was joined by the singer Paula Abdul, in her first appearance in the parade; indie pop band Fitz and the Tantrums; boy band Big Time Rush; “You and Blue’s Clues!” host Josh Dela Cruz; the singer Gloria Estefan; gospel singer Kirk Franklin; actor Mario Lopez; reggae star Ziggy Marley; and Miss America 2022 Emma Broyles.

Singers Joss Stone, Jordin Sparks and Betty Who also took part in the festivities, as did Peacock’s “Pitch Perfect: Bumper in Berlin” stars Adam Devine, Sarah Hyland and Flula Borg. Jimmy Fallon & The Roots were on a float celebrating Central Park.

President Biden and Jill Biden called the parade, as they did last year. Biden thanked the firefighters, police officers and first responders, saying, “They never take a break.”

They thanked the troops and Biden said he would be reaching out to some today.

When asked about their plans for the day in Nantucket, Massachusetts, the Bidens said it would involve family and some local time, thanking first responders.

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Associated Press writer Deepti Hajela contributed to this story.

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