After wind scare, balloons fly in Macy’s Thanksgiving parade

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Crowds watch as the balloons for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade are inflated, Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019 in New York. The city's parade on Thursday will take place amid strong winds that could potentially ground the giant character balloons. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

NEW YORK, NY – The beloved balloons flew, but lower than usual, in a windy Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade after an anxious weather watch.

Wind had threatened to ground the giant inflated characters. But officials announced less than an hour before Thursday’s start time that the balloons could fly, if in a down-to-Earth way.

As the parade continued — even while city emergency officials sent out a public alert about wind gusts — handlers struggled with some giant balloons and pulled them close to the ground. Meanwhile, winds did keep giant balloons out of Philadelphia’s Thanksgiving Day parade.

The Macy’s parade balloons might have been lowered, but Susan Koteen’s spirits weren’t. She has traveled from Florida, three years in a row, to see the parade.

“We love it. Because it’s exciting, it’s patriotic, and it just — it warms your heart,” she said.

Spectators lined up a half-dozen deep along the route on a gusty fall day, with leaves and confetti swirling in the wind.

A “Green Eggs and Ham” balloon joined the lineup, Smokey Bear returned for the first time since 1993, and spectators got to see new versions of favorites Snoopy and SpongeBob SquarePants.

A smaller new balloon, Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s “Love Flies Up to the Sky,” and two star-shaped balloons ultimately didn’t make the lineup because of tears and stress from inflation before the parade, Macy’s said. A giant Ronald McDonald balloon also tore before the parade and was pulled out midway through, the company said. The McDonald’s character had a visibly deflated leg.