New York (AP) Crowds of onlookers lined the streets of New York Thursday as colorful balloons helped kick off the holiday season during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
The annual tradition, dating back nearly a century, has packed the streets as a parade of giant inflatables and floats flows for more than 40 blocks from Central Park to Herald Square.
Children balance on metal railings and hang from scaffolding to watch the balloons in mostly sunny skies and a light breeze.
“Blue, blue! blue!” shouted Divyam Kumar, 6, as his father helped him balance him and his 4-year-old brother Aanu Aryan on a rail.
The little girl was referring to the star of the animated show “Blue’s Clues” – not to be confused with the international cartoon Bluey, an Australian cattle pup she is showing for the first time.
Bluey’s balloon rises as high as a four-story building and stretches up to seven taxis.
Stewart, the one-eyed minion, was also there to excite the crowd.
But it was Snoopy that caught the eye of Brenner Chenenko, 8, more than modern pups.
“It’s one of the classics,” said the young man from Rochester, New York, who lined up along the parade route with his father Nate and grandfather John Weber.
It was the first time the father and son had seen the show in person. The Wopperer last saw a live performance 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 included 16 giant balloons, 28 floats, 40 novelty and heritage inflatables, 12 marching bands, 10 performance groups, 700 clowns, and Santa Claus.
She joined the parade of characters, singer Paula Abdul, in her first appearance on the show. the indie-pop group Fitz and the Tantrums; boy band Big Time Rush; “Blue guides 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, Jordin Sparks, and Betty also took part in the festivities, as did the Peacock “Pitch Perfect: Bumper in Berlin” stars – Adam DeVine, Sarah Hyland and Flula Burg. Jimmy Fallon and The Roots were on a float to celebrate Central Park.
President Biden and Jill Biden called in the show, as he did last year. Biden thanked firefighters, police officers and first responders, saying, “They never take a break.”
They thanked the troops and Biden said he would reach out to talk to some today.
When asked about their plans for the day in Nantucket, Massachusetts, Biden said it would include family, spending time locally, and thanked first responders.
In Plymouth, Massachusetts, the English settlement founded by the Pilgrims who arrived on the Mayflower, two annual events are held to embrace “all aspects” of the holiday, city officials said.
Costumed participants re-enact their annual Thanksgiving “Pilgrims’ Progress” parade, representing the 51 survivors of that first brutal winter of 1621—though Thursday’s crew had better conditions, with sunny skies and temperatures in the 40s.
There was also a “National Day of Mourning” to honor Aboriginal ancestors and protest against racism and oppression. A banner behind the speakers read: “We are unbeaten, we are not defeated, we are stronger than ever.”
Associated Press reporters Dipti Hajela and Cathy McCormack contributed to this story.
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