The spectacular giant balloons, floats and marching bands are making their way down Manhattan’s streets for the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
The perennial favorites will be out – including Spider-Man, Snoopy and SpongeBob SquarePants – as the festive parade makes its way from Central Park at 9am to Macy’s in Herald Square.
Making a parade debut, is Ice Age’s Scrat – the persistent squirrel along his with his elusive acorn – boasting a tail the size of a school bus.
And record crowds are expected to swarm Manhattan sidewalks and rooftops to glimpse the spectacle as the holiday season is ushered in, with performances from Mariah Carey, Trey Songz, Jordin Sparks and Panic! At the Disco
New York officials said around 3.5million spectators would turn out for the city’s signature parade, now in its 89th year. But security is heavy, with more than 2,500 officers stationed along the parade’s route – the largest number of officers the police department has ever assigned to the event.
Huge crowds of onlookers have the parade route, which started at 9am at Central Park West and 77th Street on the Upper West Side and will head south to Macy’s flagship store at 34th Street and 7th Avenue, in Herald Square, where it concludes.
Veteran balloons are back out in force, including Hello Kitty, the Pillsbury Doughboy and Paddington Bear, but each year also sees a new balloon or two added to the line-up.
However, little is known about Macy’s selection process – only that the parade’s organizers look for a character with pop culture relevance. According to Studio360, ‘are always on the lookout for what is popular with kids, teens and adults. The new balloons in the line up reflect that.’
And around 50 million people around the world are expected to watch the televised parade, as dozens of giant helium balloons depicting popular cartoon characters, accompanied by floats, volunteers and entertainers, snake through 2.5 miles (4 km) of the city.
But this year’s event is being held under tight security in the wake of terror attacks in Paris, with officials saying it is the most heavily policed parade in the city’s history.
Police Commissioner William Bratton said more than 2,500 officers will be stationed along the parade route for the Thanksgiving Day festivities – the largest number the New York Police Department has ever assigned to the event.
Read more: DailyMail.co.uk