By Bobby Cain CALVAN (Associated Press)
NEW YORK (AP) — Spectators flooded the streets of New York on Thursday in the form of colorful, high-flying balloons, helping to herald the holiday season during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
The annual tradition, which has been enjoyed for almost a century, packed the streets as a procession of giant inflatables and floats flooded more than 40 blocks from Central Park to Herald Square.
Children balanced on high metal barriers hanging from the peg to watch the birds amid a mostly clear sky and a light breeze.
“Blue, Blue. It’s blue over there,” cried Divyam Kumar, 6, as his father helped balance him and four-year-old brother Aanu Aryan on the metal.
The young star was referring to the animated show “Blue’s Clues” – not to be confused with the international cartoon sensation Bluey, an Australian cattle puppy making his parade debut.
The balloon’s tower is as high as four stories of buildings and stretches as wide as seven taxi cabs.
Stuart Minion was also there watching the crowd.
But it was Snoopy that especially caught the eye of Brenner Chenenko, 8 even more so than the younger pups.
“It’s one of the classics,” said the young man from Rochester, New York, who organized the parade with his father, Nate, and grandfather, John Wopperer.
It was the first time that father and son had seen the parade in person. Wopperer finally saw the parade live three years ago, before the pandemic stopped the event for a year.
Snoopy, dressed as an astronaut, followed another old-time favorite, Papa Smurf.
This year’s parade featured 16 giant fish, 28 floats, 40 novelty and heritage inflatables, 12 driving teams, 10 performance groups, 700 clowns and one birthday party.
The procession of characters was joined by singer Paula Abdul in her first parade appearance; indic pop band Fitz and the Tantrums; boy band Big Time Rush; “You’re Blue & Clues!” host Jose 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, Jordin Sparks and Betty Who were also at the festival, as were the stars of the peacock “Pix Perfect: Bumper in Berlin” — Adam Devine, Sarah Hyland and Flula Borg. Jimmy Fallon & The Roots were swimming in Central Park celebrating.
President Biden and Jill Biden joined the parade, as they did last year. Biden thanked the commanders of the fighters and first responded by saying, “Never take a break.”
They thanked the troops and Biden said he would reach out to talk about something today.
When asked about their plans for the day in Nantucket, Massachusetts, the Bidens said they would take family in and spend some time locally, thanking first responders.
In Plymouth, Massachusetts, an English affair from the immigrants who arrived on the Mayflower, two annual events were held to include “everything festivals,” according to town officials.
The costumed participants recounted the annual Thanksgiving procession of the “Pilgrims’ Progress,” which represented the 51 survivors of the first terrible winter of 1621 — although Thursday’s song had better conditions, with sunny skies and temperatures for 40 years.
There was also a “National Day of Mourning” honoring indigenous elders and protesting against racism and oppression. “We do not win, we are not defeated, we are always strong,” read a sign behind the speakers.
Associated Press reporters Deepti Hajela and Kathy McCormack contributed to this story.