On the dreary Thanksgiving eve, thousands of people came out to see the famous Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons being inflated near the American Museum of Natural History. One of the most poignant parts of Thanksgiving is Macy's annual Thanksgiving Day Parade, the balloons have been a staple to the parade since 1927.
The character balloons are some of the most popular characters in pop culture. People from all over the city and the United States come to watch balloons
Gary Strickland and his family came to watch the balloons being inflated. The North Carolina said it became a tradition for his family to come to New York City and watch the balloons.
It's a symbol of the holiday season, said Strickland.
David Hill from New Jersey came to see the balloons as well.
I came out for my family, he told IBTimes. Are you having a good time? Hill asked his youngest son.
Yes! his son exclaimed.
Creating the balloons is a timely process. First, a two-dimensional sketch of the balloons is drawn. The balloon engineers evaluate the aerodynamics and the ability to create it. Then, a clay model exactly to scale is created. Balloon creators work closely with the character creators in order to ensure likeness. A second model is the created and painted with the exact color and details of the one used in the parade. Then, pieces of the balloon are cut from polyurethane and sealed together.
After the balloon is assembled, it undergoes a series of tests to make sure there are no leaks and meets proper safety regulations. Then, on the fourth Thursday of November, the balloons are ready to go and fly down Broadway.
In all, over 50 balloons will be on display for the public to see. However, besides the popular balloons, the parade is expected to host 27 floats, 800 clowns, and nearly 1,600 cheerleaders. Many celebrities and singers will take part in this year's events including Mary J. Blige, Cee Lo Green, Avril Lavigne, and even the Muppets.
There will be several new balloons in the parade this year. B, a creation by director Tim Burton, will make its debut. Sonic the Hedgehog will return to the parade after a 18-year absence.
The three hour parade will start at 9 a.m. Forecasters predict sunny skies and 10 mph winds. Nearly 3.5 million people are expected to watch the parade down the route in Manhattan.