The annual New York Thanksgiving Parade kicks off today in front of millions of spectators.
The parade is in full swing this year after two years of COVID restrictions. The parade follows a 2.5 mile route from the Upper West Side to 34th Street.
Dressed up and ready to take flight, Dino and Baby Dino are some of the familiar balloon faces ready to hit the streets.
“We’re here to see the balloons for the very first time,” said parade-goer Monica Debride. “We are New Yorkers, born and bred, but I was excited to bring my daughter for the first time.”
Around 3 million people will be on the sidelines, watching 8,000 performers officially usher in the festive season. For many, the fun started yesterday as crowds gathered all day to watch the balloons inflate.
“We didn’t realize how big they were. Now we see why they are all attached,” said Cindy Mandate, a visitor from Florida.
This year there will be 16 huge character balloons, 28 floats, a dozen marching bands, 700 clowns and, of course, Santa Claus.
“My favorite was actually ‘The Diary of a Wimpy Kid,’ said show-goer Alex Williams.
The New York Police Department is stepping up security as a precaution for the holiday parade after two recent mass shootings within days of each other in Virginia and Colorado, but police say there is no threat known and credible for the festivities.
“Rest assured there will be officers you will see and officers you will not see,” Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said. “We are here in the air. We are here in the crowd. We are here along the road. We are here to protect you.”
Some of the big balls people have said they’ll be watching are Minions, Papa Smurf, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. There will also be performances and appearances from Broadway’s Paula Abdul, Kirk Franklin and Funny Girl.
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