MOONACHIE, NEW JERSEY — Thursday, November 28, is Thanksgiving Day in America.
For thousands of bystanders and millions of television viewers, the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York is as traditional as turkey and stuffing.
This year marks the 87th year of Macy's parade. It will feature 15 giant helium balloons of cartoon and pop culture characters, 1,200 dancers and cheerleaders, 900 clowns, 10 marching bands and nearly 9,000 personnel, almost all of them volunteers.
Some children were fortunate to get a sneak preview of some of 2013’s most dazzling floats, a full year in the making.
Over the course of the nearly nine decades since Macy's immigrant employees organized the first Thanksgiving Day Parade, the floats and balloons have been getting larger, more colorful and more surprising.
This year, school children were invited to the Macy’s parade studios outside New York City, for a first look at several just completed floats.
Bella was excited to be there.
“I think it’s great because I get to see all of these floats before anyone else does in the parade. And I like that they do acrobatics on it," said Bella.
Nine-year-old Maral was inspired.
“I really like art and making things. So it’s really cool for me to see all this being made and how it looks when it’s done,” said Maral.
John Piper is vice president of Macy’s studio and so-called Head Balloonatic. He said his work is fun all the time.
“Or at least it seems that way. It’s a lot of work. All year long, the artists at the Macy’s Studio build these floats. We create them from scratch. I have the finest carpenters, and welders and metal workers and sculptors and painters and illustrators all collaborating together,” said Piper.
The floats are supposed to showcase the parade’s commercial sponsors in time for the start of the Christmas season. But Amy Kule, the event producer, said there’s more to it than that.
“And that is to maintain the beauty and the majesty of this parade. And this parade is always about giving back and it’s about entertaining."
But most important, it’s about leaving it intact for the next generation.
With only days left until Thankgiving, New Yorkers and Americans can look forward to a Thanksgiving Day Parade that's a visual feast “with all the trimmings.”