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Eugene Gologursky

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons may not fly this year

By
Collier Sutter
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High winds in the forecast for Thanksgiving this year may prevent the giant balloons from flying during the 93rd annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

To no one's surprise, these massive helium-filled balloons are heavy—weighing hundreds of pounds—and need to make it down the 2.5-mile parade route safely. As a result, New York City regulations state that winds over 23mph, and gusts over 34mph, call for the balloons to be grounded.

These strict balloon-flight regulations were passed after an incident in 1997 when several people where injured while watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade near 72nd Street. That year, an inflatable Cat in the Hat hit a lamppost causing the metal arm of the lamppost to break off and debris to fall onto spectators below. One woman ended up spending a month in a coma. In 2005, an M&M balloon also hit a pole, and the pieces fell onto pedestrians.

The final decision for the 2019 parade is still up in the air, so to speak. Macy’s has their own licensed meteorologist to monitor gusts and weather conditions the day of the event.

We sure hope to see Macy's newest balloons souring high this year which include, "Astronaut Snoopy" by Peanuts, "Green Eggs and Ham" by Netflix, "SpongeBob SquarePants & Gary" by Nickelodeon, and "Love Flies Up to the Sky"—a long-awaited balloon designed by Yayoi Kusama just for the parade.

Either way, the floats and bands will still march on!

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