News / USA

Cheers Greet Giant Balloons at Macy's Thanksgiving Parade

The Spider-Man balloon at the Macy's Thanksgiving parade, Nov. 28, 2013 (Photo Sandra Lemaire)
The Spider-Man balloon at the Macy's Thanksgiving parade, Nov. 28, 2013 (Photo Sandra Lemaire)
Sandra Lemaire
Macy’s 87th Annual Thanksgiving Parade kicked off to cheers as the popular giant balloons got the green light to fly under clear skies and mild winds.  

Snoopy and Woodstock were the first mammoths to appear against a backdrop of millions of bundled-up spectators, who lined the streets of Manhattan with their smartphones and cameras in hand.  

Winter Storm Boreas had threatened to ground the biggest balloons Wednesday, as meteorologists warned wind speeds could surpass the limit set by a New York City regulation.  Many had fingers crossed as they waited to hear whether officials would give the go-ahead just before the parade's scheduled start at 9:00 am.

Venezuelans Graciela, center Wilfred front left and their cousins are first-time spectators at the Macy's Thanksgiving parade, in New York, Nov. 28, 2013. (Photo Sandra Lemaire )
Venezuelans Graciela, center Wilfred front left and their cousins are first-time spectators at the Macy's Thanksgiving parade, in New York, Nov. 28, 2013. (Photo Sandra Lemaire )


“We’ve been planning this for 10 years,” said Graciela, a Venezuelan who lives in Philadelphia and traveled to New York City to see the parade. She and her relatives staked out their positions in Bryant Park, which runs along the parade route, in the early morning hours, dragging along folding chairs and blankets to keep warm.  Her cousin Wilfred, a first-time spectator who traveled from Venezuela to see the parade, described the experience as a “once in a lifetime event.”

The SpongeBob SquarePants giant balloon at Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, Nov. 28, 2013. (Photo Sandra Lemaire)
The SpongeBob SquarePants giant balloon at Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, Nov. 28, 2013. (Photo Sandra Lemaire)
For Americans, watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade on Thanksgiving morning is a holiday tradition. Many children dream of seeing the huge balloons, floats, marching bands, Broadway stars and celebrities in person, and if they can’t, they watch it on television. The retailer also posted photos, fun facts and parade updates on its Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts.

In addition to returning crowd favorites Snoopy and his pal Woodstock, SpongeBob SquarePants and the dragon, Toothless, from “How to Train Your Dragon” flew by to oohs and ahhhs by the crowd.

This year’s parade also coincided with the first night of Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights and Feast of Dedication.

Among the floating stages, cast members of the popular television reality show "Duck Dynasty" were welcomed with loud cheers and Oneida Indian Nation’s “The True Spirit of Thanksgiving” drew applause.  Laura Draper, a Native American from New Mexico, whose son Spike was one of the “Fancy Feather Dancers,” described the experience as "unbelievable."
 
April Draper Uentillie, left, her sister Tierra Draper, center, and husband, Orlando Uentiliie, Native Americans of the Navajo Nation who live in New Mexico, traveled to New York to see their brother, Spike who is performing in the Macy's Thanksgiving Par
April Draper Uentillie, left, her sister Tierra Draper, center, and husband, Orlando Uentiliie, Native Americans of the Navajo Nation who live in New Mexico, traveled to New York to see their brother, Spike who is performing in the Macy's Thanksgiving Par

However, this year's parade was not without controversy.  Animal activists vowed to line the route to protest SeaWorld’s” A Sea of Surprises” float featuring Shamu, the iconic killer whale, after complaining that theme parks mistreat whales that perform in their shows. 

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade route (click to enlarge)Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade route (click to enlarge)
x
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade route (click to enlarge)
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade route (click to enlarge)
Another protest involved rock ‘n’ roller Joan Jett, a vegetarian and supporter of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), who was scheduled to appear on the South Dakota Department of Tourism float.  The singer was booted after ranchers expressed their displeasure that a vegetarian would be representing their state, famous for its beef products. Later, Jett was quoted as saying she had decided to appear on another float “...because people's political agendas were getting in the way of what should be a purely entertainment-driven event.”

As the parade winded down, some spectators cut out early to avoid the large crowds heading home to prepare for Thanksgiving dinner.  Jane, another first-time spectator from Brazil who lives in New Jersey, said she decided to brave the frigid temperatures because she wanted to see it live rather than watching on tv.

"It's famous right? Everybody knows about it," she said. "I like to see all the fun."
  • Spectators dressed as turkeys stand behind police barricades as they wait for the 87th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, New York, Nov. 28, 2013.
  • A Spider-man balloon in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Nov. 28, 2013. (Sandra Lemaire/VOA)
  • A balloon in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Nov. 28, 2013. (Sandra Lemaire/VOA)
  • Workers prepare the giant Snoopy balloon before the 87th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, New York, Nov. 28, 2013.
  • President Barack Obama, with daughters Sasha and Malia carries on the Thanksgiving tradition of saving the national turkey, Popcorn, from the dinner table with a "presidential pardon," at the White House, Nov. 27, 2013.
  • President Barack Obama, right, and first lady Michelle Obama participate in a Thanksgiving service project by handing out food at the Capital Area Food Bank in Washington, Nov. 27, 2013.
  • Olivia Rios, who is currently unemployed, eats an early Thanksgiving meal served to the homeless and others at Los Angeles Mission on skid row, Nov. 27, 2013.
  • Travelers and commuters walk through Grand Central Station in New York, Nov. 27, 2013. 
  • Chynnah Clasberry prepares to board a Megabus in Chicago, Illinois for a trip to Atlanta, Georgia, Nov. 26, 2013.
  • Motorists drive north in the rain on Interstate 270 out of Washington ahead of Thanksgiving, Nov. 26, 2013.
  • Tina Corpus and her daughter, Christina, shop for turkey in Los Angeles, California, Nov. 26, 2013.
  • U.S. Army Sgt. Angelica Ciriaco makes her way home at the Miami International Airport after serving 10 months in Afghanistan, Nov. 26, 2013.

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Charles Lee from: China
November 28, 2013 8:22 PM
I am confused by that ‘This year’s parade also coincided with the first night of Hanukkah’. I used to know Hanukkah coincides with Christmas.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festivali
X
April 24, 2015 4:09 AM
Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Keeping Washington Airspace Safe Is Tall Order

Being the home of all three branches of the U.S. federal government makes Washington, D.C. the prime target for those who want to make their messages and ideas heard. Unfortunately, many of them choose to deliver them in unorthodox ways, including from the air, as a recent incident clearly showed involving a gyrocopter landing on the Capitol’s West Lawn. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.

VOA Blogs