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. BOMBO

    No problem JIF, Happy Thanksgiving. We do our Thanksgiving in October, it was just considered a harvest holiday back in the old pioneer days. Nothing to do with the Pilgrims here. I hadn't heard the nun story, but that may just be due to the fact I never paid much attention in school back when I was a wee one, so there are some gaps in my knowledge.

    November 24, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  2. BOMBO

    Good thing they don't fill those things with hydrogen. Oh, the humanity.

    November 24, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Blue Mountian

    One great thing about getting old is that you can get out of all sorts of social obligations just by saying you’re too tired.

    November 24, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    It was a joke of mine that didn't work:
    Canada, Nova Scotia, Evangeline (Hawthorne).
    I'm too obscure sometimes.

    November 24, 2011 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
  5. banasy©

    "Oh, the humanity"?
    Your gaps aren't that profound.

    As long as it's not Underdog, I'm ok with that.

    November 24, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
  6. BOMBO

    JIF, I just looked it up. A bit strange I never heard of it before. In a lit option class I took in college, the prof loved Longfellow. Of course, I skipped that class a lot to play cards with friends.

    November 24, 2011 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Bombo, Evangeline is probably too old fashioned and sentimental. You're all younger than I.
    You must have been playing cards with Germans, or you got to those classes.
    I skipped college classes in anything that bored me and stayed up most of the night before the exam.

    November 25, 2011 at 2:56 am | Report abuse |
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