NEW YORK — Val Bonner planned for a decade to attend the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on her 50th birthday, and Thursday she got her wish, joining throngs of holiday revelers in Manhattan cheering the giant balloons and thousands of marchers.
"It's just fabulous — I cried when I saw it," said Bonner, of Steilacoom, Wash. "This is my gift to myself. I've been saving for years for it. It's a dream come true."
Bonner, her husband, Frank, and son Jack, stood with shrieking children throwing confetti as the 82nd annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade wound its way through Manhattan streets under sunny skies.
Quincy Kersbergen of Wyckoff, N.J., found a prime viewing spot — perched on a police barricade near the beginning of the parade — and proclaimed herself a big fan of a giant dog balloon. "This is just fantastic!" the 11-year-old Quincy said.
New to the revelry this year were Buzz Lightyear, the square-jawed astronaut from the 1995 film Toy Story; Horton, the compassionate elephant of Dr. Seuss books; and a five-story Smurf, a blue, gnomelike creature popularized by a TV show that began in 1981. Old favorites like Kermit and the Energizer Bunny also were back.
Organizers said more than a million people attended the parade, with an additional 50-million watching on television.