PICS: Balloons fly at one of the coldest Macy's Thanksgiving Day parades ever

2018-11-23 09:00
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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.

SEE: Pics from the 2017 Thanksgiving Parade

The -6 Celsius degrees 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 37 km/h and gusts exceeded 54 km/h. 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.

Tony Stout had camped out with his extended family since 02:00 to make sure they got a good view of his son, who was in the parade with the Ohio State University marching band.

"Ohhh, I'm freezing and numb, but excited," said Stout, who had travelled from Columbus, Ohio.

Musicians play as they move through Sixth Avenue d

Musicians play as they move through Sixth Avenue. (Photo: Andres Kudacki, AP)

Girls shout as they watch the balloons moving alon

Girls shout as they watch the balloons moving along. (Photo: Andres Kudacki, AP)

Dylan Mahoney, who has come to the parade every year for the past dozen years, said he stayed warm by layering, including several pairs of socks.

"It's one of the coldest," he said, but "we've watched in the rain before."

He said he loves the tradition of attending the parade, driving from Leonia, New Jersey, in the early hours to see the bands and balloons and racing for a good spot.

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The Grinch balloon floats over Central Park West d

The Grinch balloon floats over Central Park. (Photo: Andres Eduardo Munoz Alvarez, AP)

Performers and balloons move through Sixth Avenue

(Photo: Andres Kudacki, AP)

Entertainers including Diana Ross, John Legend, Martina McBride and the Muppets from Sesame Street performed in the frigid cold.

Macy's later apologised for "technical difficulties" after viewers ripped into singer Rita Ora for what they saw as awkward lip-syncing.

The British artist appeared out of sync with the vocals that viewers heard during parts of her televised performance of "Let You Love Me," and the episode sparked a flurry of online commentary.

Macy's apologised via Twitter, saying "several recording artists experienced technical difficulties that negatively impacted their performance" and were beyond the performers' control.

Ora tweeted thanks to Macy's for "the honesty."

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A performer salutes the crowd along Sixth Avenue d

A performer salutes the crowd. (Photo: Andres Kudacki, AP)

The Goku balloon makes its way down New York's Six

The Goku balloon from Dragonball Z. (Photo: Tina Fineberg, AP)

In another moment that got attention, a performance from the Broadway musical The Prom included a kiss between two female cast members. The producers told Entertainment Weekly it was the parade's "first LGBTQ kiss."

Representatives for Macy's and broadcaster NBCUniversal didn't respond to inquiries.

Thursday was one of New York City's coldest Thanksgivings, with National Weather Service data showing the temperature peaked at -2 Celsius degrees. The coldest on record was in 1871, when the warmest it got was 22 degrees -5 Celsius degrees.

The Macy's parade didn't start until 1924.

Police Commissioner James O'Neill said thousands of officers were stationed along the parade route. They included counterterrorism teams with long guns, plainclothes officers mixed in with the crowd and a new squad of K-9 teams that can sniff out explosives from a few hundred feet away.

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.

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A Spongebob Squarepants balloon floats over Centra

The SpongeBob balloon. (Photo: Andres Eduardo Munoz Alvarez, AP) 

Santa Claus waves to the crowd during the 92nd ann

Santa Clause waves to the crowd. (Photo: Andres Eduardo Munoz Alvarez, AP) 

The Olaf balloon moves through Sixth Avenue during

The Olaf balloon. (Photo: Andres Kudacki, AP)

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