Colorful Macy's parade brightens a gray day
Thousands turn out to see balloons, floats
November 25, 1999
NEW YORK (CNN) -- Large crowds ignored less than perfect New York weather Thursday to watch the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade get under way. This year, the parade went to the dogs -- with two new inflatable canines joining other giant helium-filled balloons.
While wind gusts blew back umbrellas carried by onlookers, thousands of children and adults were willing to wait out a steady, blustery rain for a glimpse of balloons, bands and floats.
Some fans arrived as early as 2 a.m. to stake out a prime sidewalk spot for watching the parade, which begins on Manhattan's Upper West Side and proceeded to the Macy's Department Store at Herald Square in Midtown -- a distance of 2 1/2 miles.
New among this year's balloons is Blue, from Nickelodeon's Blue's Clues, and a new version of an old favorite, Snoopy, the beagle from the cartoon strip "Peanuts." The Snoopy balloon "wears" a special jesters hat in honor of the new millennium.
Another new giant balloon will feature the Honey Nut Cheerios Bee.
Other character balloons in this year's parade include Sesame Street's "Big Bird," the cartoon cat "Garfield," the purple dinosaur "Barney," the children's book aardvark character "Arthur," and one of Maurice Sendak's "Wild Things" from his book "Where the Wild Things Are."
In all, the festivities featured 12 giant balloons, 19 novelty balloons, 26 floats, six toy floats, 14 marching bands, 35 clown groups, and many stars from stage, screen, and television.
The tradition of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade began in 1924, with a handful of Macy's workers who wanted to celebrate the beginning of the holiday season with a parade through central Manhattan. The first large balloon, Felix the Cat, appeared in 1927.
Correspondent Frank Buckley contributed to this report.
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