Despite wind, balloons fly at Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade
Updated : 2018-11-23 08:03:18
Frigid weather and blustery winds didn't chill the enthusiasm at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, where spectators bundled up in blankets and sleeping bags and the giant character balloons flew lower than usual.
SpongeBob, Charlie Brown, the Grinch and other big balloons were cleared for takeoff just before Thursday's parade, although some floated at noticeably lower-than-usual heights above the people holding their tethers, like the outstretched hand of the "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" balloon that appeared to hit some of his handlers on their wool cap-covered heads.
The 21 degrees (minus 6 Celsius) at the start made it one of the coldest Thanksgivings in the city in decades, and the temperature warmed only a few degrees as the parade rolled along.
Officials had been ready to order the 16 helium-filled balloons to a lower altitude or removed entirely if sustained winds exceeded 23 mph (37 kph) and gusts exceeded 34 mph (54 kph). There have been mishaps and injuries in the past when gusts blew them off course.
Bystanders refused to let the cold put a damper on watching the parade, breaking out blankets and sleeping bags to watch the balloons, bands and floats go by.
The parade runs 46 blocks from the west side of Central Park to Macy's flagship store in midtown Manhattan.
The event features about 8,000 marchers, including high school bands from across the country, and two dozen floats, culminating with the arrival of Santa Claus.