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Festive Thanksgiving Day Parade atmosphere in NYC

NEW YORK – A festive atmosphere prevailed on Thursday as the annual parade on Thanksgiving made its way through the crowded streets of New York, under a bright sun.

About 3.5 million people are expected to crowd along the parade route, the sponsor of Macy expected, while another 50 million watched from home.

A jetpack-wearing monkey and a freakish creation of filmmaker Tim Burton are two of the big balloons opening new making appearances. Joining fan favorites like Snoopy and Spider-Man.

“Those kids, playing good music and really put a good show,” said Wilfred Denk, Munich, Germany, to see the bands. He and his wife, Bethina, were on their honeymoon in New York.

In total, the parade featured more than 40 creations from balloons, 27 floats, 800 clowns and cheerleaders 1600. The power of the stars included Mary J. Blige, Cee Lo Green, Avril Lavigne and the Muppets of Sesame Street.

Near the beginning of the route, Conor Jones, 5, ducked as a group of clowns dressed as firefighters sprayed the crowd with confetti colors. He and his twin brother, Nolan, attended the parade for three years in a row.

“I like the best bands,” he said. His brother preferred the Spider-Man balloon.

Nearby, balloon handler Joe Sullivan, a retired banker, which took place one of six nylon strings floating ensure a huge pumpkin. He has been volunteering at the parade of more than 15 years.

“When it’s windy it’s a struggle,” he said. “But today is great weather. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

The parade began in 1924 and includes live animals such as camels, goats and elephants. Giant helium balloons replaced in 1927.

From the beginning, the balloons have been based on the popular cultural characters and holiday themes. Returning favorites this year include Buzz Lightyear, Clumsy Smurf, SpongeBob SquarePants and Kermit the Frog.

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