NEW YORK — Crowds of onlookers lined the streets of New York City on Thursday as colorful, high-flying balloons helped usher in the holiday season at Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
The annual tradition, which dates back nearly a century, filled the streets in the form of a procession of giant inflatables and floating floats over more than 40 blocks from Central Park to Herald Square.
Children balanced on metal barricades and hung from scaffolding to watch the balloons in mostly sunny skies and a light breeze.
“Blue, blue. There’s blue,” shouted 6-year-old Divyam Kumar as her father helped balance her with her 4-year-old brother, Aanu Aryan, on a metal rail.
The youngster was referring to the star of the animated show ‘Blue’s Clues’ – not to be confused with international cartoon sensation Bluey, an Australian cattle pup making his parade debut.
Bluey’s balloon was as tall as a four-story building and stretched as wide as seven taxis.
Stuart, the one-eyed Minion, was also there to thrill the crowd.
Snoopy, dressed as an astronaut, made an appearance again, as did Papa Smurf, Ronald McDonald and SpongeBob SquarePants.
This year’s parade, in numbers: 16 giant balloons, 28 floats, 40 novelty and heritage inflatables, 12 marching bands, 10 performance groups, 700 clowns and a Santa Claus.
The procession of characters was joined by singer Paula Abdul, in her first parade appearance; indie pop band Fitz and the Tantrums; boy band Big Time Rush; “Blue’s Clues and 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 Who will also be part of the festivities, as will the stars of Peacock’s “Pitch Perfect: Bumper in Berlin” — Adam Devine, Sarah Hyland and Flula Borg. Jimmy Fallon & The Roots will be on a float celebrating Central Park.
President Biden and Jill Biden called for the parade, as he did last year. Biden thanked firefighters, police and first responders, saying, “They never take a break.”
They thanked the troops and Biden said he would reach out to speak to some today.
Asked about their plans for the day in Nantucket, the Bidens said it would involve family and some time spent locally, thanking first responders.