Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons to start US holiday season

Performers and marching bands will hit New York streets

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Spectators will line the streets of New York City on Thursday morning to watch the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, an hours-long carnival featuring balloons and musical performances, which start the US holiday season.

Before the parade – scheduled to run from 8.30am-12pm Eastern Time – the famous giant character balloons were inflated in New York's Upper West Side on Wednesday.

Characters including Bluey, Baby Yoda and Pikachu will make their way from Central Park West down Sixth Avenue down to their eventual destination, Macy's flagship store in Herald Square.

This year's parade will feature 25 giant character balloons, 31 parade floats. Music stars including Cher and Jon Batiste will also be taking part in the festivities.

And as usual, Santa Claus will be riding at the back of the parade.

Not always smooth sailing

Inflation is done carefully and piece by piece with every balloon to prevent damage, but that has not always been the case.

Moving large parade balloons is a treacherous endeavour, with the most recent incident involving an inflated Spider-Man crashing into a tree in 2013, ripping an arm apart.

The Kermit balloon also hit a tree in the 1991 parade, deflating the puppet's head, prompting one commentator to quip: “It's not easy being green.”

The Muppet did not return to the party until 2002.

A Superman balloon in 1985 also had its arm ripped off when it got caught on a tree branch.

In the 1957 parade, Popeye drenched parade onlookers when rainwater from its inflated hat spilt on to crowds as the balloon swayed to the side due to wind.

And a Mighty Mouse balloon in 1956 hit a street sign and broke apart, landing on the ground.

AP contributed to this report

Updated: November 23, 2023, 1:00 AM