NEW YORK – Rain or shine, the show must go on! For nearly 100 years, the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has dazzled Americans with its high-flying, larger-than-life balloons.
Lucky for balloon handlers, entertainers and attendees, they will be able to enjoy the parade amid a background of pleasant, albeit chilly weather.
Abundant sunshine is in store for the New York City parade, with temperatures in the mid- to upper 40s Thanksgiving morning and then rising into the lower 50s later in the day, according to the FOX Forecast Center.
And while temperatures look great, gusty winds could create problems for some balloons.
Because of the immense size of the balloons, wind plays a critical role in parade logistics and safety measures.
The wind is expected to blow in from the northwest between 5 and 10 mph with gusts from 15-20 mph. And while that may not seem like a lot, holding down the massive balloons can become trickier when winds pick up.
A Macy's spokesperson says they are only concerned for the parade when the threshold of 23-mph sustained winds and 34-mph gusts is exceeded. Should winds blow stronger than these criteria, the parade's largest balloons could be altered.
In 2019, strong winds threatened to ground the balloons. While officials ended up allowing the balloons to fly, handlers struggled to control the Nutcracker balloon, which ran a woman down onto the ground.
The 1997 parade saw winds powerful enough to have the Cat in the Hat balloon strike a lamppost. Part of the lamppost fell onto and injured a bystander, who went into a coma.
That same parade, the Barney balloon tore and deflated onto the street. In the video of the incident, the crowd can be heard shouting as the handlers struggled to control the balloon as high winds whipped it about.
On another occasion, balloons had to be tied down due to powerful winds.
On Thanksgiving morning, those balloons and a litany of floats and performers will make their way through the New York City streets from 8:30 a.m. until noon.
Parade attendees and viewers at home can look forward to seeing 25 balloons in this year’s parade, along with 31 floats and a number of musical acts.
While the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was hosted in 1924, balloons only became a part of the parade a few years later in 1927, according to the Library of Congress. The first parade balloon was Felix the Cat.
Original article source: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade keeps close eye on NYC wind forecast