Parade balloons ready to fly
Floats for the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade are prepared Wednesday in New York.
November 24th, 2011
07:18 AM ET

Parade balloons ready to fly

A tangled web of hoses covered the streets around the Museum of Natural History in New York as 15 giant helium balloons were inflated late Wednesday afternoon. They're the premier attraction in the 85th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, which is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of people to the route as the holiday season is ushered in.

(Click the audio player to hear more on this story from CNN Radio's Steve Kastenbaum)

Crews were extra careful to ensure that the balloons were well secured as wind gusts and the occasional light rain shower pushed them around. But the wind is expected to die down by morning, and Macy's officials do not anticipate any problems flying the balloons in the parade.

"Everyone has seen this parade. You've grown up with it," said Jimmy Artle, a member of the production team. This is the 31st straight year that he's worked on the parade. "The parade has been here long before me. It's going to go on long after I'm gone. It's like being a caretaker. It's an amazing feeling."

About five new balloons will be featured, including Julius, the Paul Frank monkey. And a balloon making its return after an 18-year absence will be Sonic the Hedgehog. Eleven marching bands, dozens of floats and hundreds of clowns will join them as they make their way to Herald Square, the site of Macy's flagship store.

"I've never seen anyone come through here watching us inflate these balloons without a smile on their face," Artle said. "It's just something that warms your heart."

The parade begins at 9:30 a.m. ET Thursday.

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soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Scottish Mama

    HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!!!!! Have a grreat day with family and friends.

    November 24, 2011 at 8:23 am | Report abuse |
  2. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Happy Thanksgiving back atcha Scottish Mama!
    Also banasy, chrissy, fernace, raven, gung hoe, bobcat (in his hat), s kel, Jeff Frank (R), saywhat (a double?), PED, Jazzzz, and anybody I forgot.

    November 24, 2011 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
  3. raven

    I was blessed and lucky to be born where I was, I found the man of my dreams, my kids love me, my friends are loyal and my health is fine. I am happy. And for these things, I am thankful. Wishing you all a happy, healthy and safe Thanksgiving.

    November 24, 2011 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
  4. raven

    And to you, JIF, thanks for remembering me, that made my morning !

    November 24, 2011 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
  5. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    @ clearview:
    Happy Thanksgiving! I forgot because of the name change.
    Have a wonderful day with your family.

    November 24, 2011 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
  6. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    @ BOMBO:
    OMG, I forgot you.
    Happy Canada...
    Don't mind me: at 115, I'm senile.
    Did Canada have any Pilgrims? Wasn't there something about this girl who lost her boyfriend and became a nun? So sad...

    November 24, 2011 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
  7. banasy©

    Happy Thanksgiving to each and every person I have ever personnally talked to here, and to the thousands I haven't.

    Have a beautiful, bountiful day.

    m.s. : xoxoxoxo luvya!

    November 24, 2011 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  8. banasy©

    I want Underdog.

    November 24, 2011 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  9. raven

    I want a Kinder Egg .

    November 24, 2011 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  10. banasy©

    Figures, m.s!
    I am going to hunt them little boogers down and buy a case of them just for you...

    November 24, 2011 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  11. Blue Mountian

    Thanksgiving is an emotional holiday. People travel thousands of miles to be with people they only see once a year. And then discover once a year is way too often. 🙂

    November 24, 2011 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  12. banasy©

    I still want Underdog.

    November 24, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. bobcat ( in a hat )

    Look mama, here comes Santa Claws. Look how white his "whiskers" are.

    November 24, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  14. banasy©


    November 24, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blue Mountian

      “Meow” means “woof” in cat.

      November 24, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  15. bobcat ( in a hat )

    My sides hurt from all that laughing last night.

    November 24, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
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