The parade route for the giant balloons in the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is bypassing Broadway for the first time in its more than 80-year history.
SFGate.com reports on November 23, 2009 that the new parade route will include five turns and be slightly longer than in previous years. The new route is 2.65 miles long and became necessary because part of the old route was closed to vehicular traffic, making floats off limits now.
The giant balloons in the parade , featuring Buzz Lightyear, Spider-Man and Ronald McDonald measure thirty to over sixty feet tall and wide and are filled with thousands of cubic feet of helium. Each balloon is tethered to and guided by several to scores of human handlers.
Turning the giant balloons around corners is tricky and must be performed slowly to insure no light poles or other obstructions are snagged by the balloon. There are protocols in place in case of high winds which can wreak havoc with the giant balloons. In 1997 a balloon hit a light pole which resulted in a woman spectator being injured and in a coma for over a month before she recovered.
The weather forecast for the parade this year is a 40% chance of rain with some possibility of wind.
Best of luck to the handlers! I’ll be tuned in to watch them handle the parade balloons again this year.