NEW YORK — The big balloons soared along with the crowd's spirits Thursday as the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade made its way through the streets of New York City.
There'd been some concerns about whether the wind could keep 16 giant balloons grounded, but the tradition prevailed.
"We thought they'd find a way to pull it off," said parade-goer John Mispagel, of San Jose, Calif. "It's really fun seeing so many people having such a great time."
Balloon handlers were keeping a tight grip on their inflated characters and held them fairly close to the ground in tree-lined areas. The wind was around 26 mph.
Mispagel and his wife, Susan, said Sonic the Hedgehog got caught on a tree while rounding a corner near the start of the parade route; handlers used cutters on a rope to free the balloon.
The cheering throngs were bundled against a 30-degree chill, but the sun was shining. Some in the crowd lifted small children onto their shoulders.
An excited 9-year-old Lily Thomolaris, of Pittsburgh, was delighted to "see all the balloons." But she especially thought a big turkey was really cool.
Matthew Ragbe, 11, lives in the neighborhood and came out to enjoy the sights. His twin brother decided not to leave their warm apartment.
"He's probably watching the parade on TV," Matthew said. "Loser."
"Lazy is more like the operative word," joked their mother, Alison Ragbe.
The Ragbe family was on 77th Street, where a director of sorts merged floats and balloons with bands and clowns by shouting cheerful instructions through a loudspeaker. He called out to the Wicked Witch.
"Please join the parade! We don't want you to miss your moment!" And merge she did.
"I don't see Toto," Michael Tellone, 19, of Pelham, shouted from behind the police barricades.
Farther down the more-than-40-block parade route, 11-year-old Ema Kelly, of Manhasset, awaited the parade pinnacle for many children: "the end with Santa."