Macy’s Thanksgiving parade: Ronald McDonald balloon deflates


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The 2019 Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade suffered a setback when the Ronald McDonald balloon deflated due to a tear and had to be grounded as it reached the end of the route. 

Millions of people had lined the streets of New York to watch the parade, which featured a dazzling display of giant balloons amid concerns over stronger than usual winds.

City rules require balloons to be grounded if sustained winds exceed 23 mph and gusts exceed 34 mph. The balloons have been grounded only once for weather-related reasons, in 1971. However officials gave the green light for the balloons to fly, albeit at a lower of height of between 15 to 35 feet.

Unfortunately Ronald, the iconic red and yellow clown, suffered a tear in the left-leg area which was present at the start of the parade and got worse as it continued. 

Franki Primeggia, 23, one of the handlers charged with moving Ronald McDonald along the parade route, told The New York Post that the tear was about three to four inches but at the time it did not present a cause for concern. 

The 2019 Macy's Thanksgiving Parade suffered a slight setback when the Ronald McDonald balloon deflated after it got a tear and had to be grounded as it reached the end of the route

The 2019 Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade suffered a slight setback when the Ronald McDonald balloon deflated after it got a tear and had to be grounded as it reached the end of the route

The iconic Ronald McDonald ballon had a three to four inch tear in its leg which occurred before the parade began

The iconic Ronald McDonald ballon had a three to four inch tear in its leg which occurred before the parade began 

Ronald seemed to be staying afloat but things soon took a turn for the worst

Handlers had to drag Ronald along as his leg became deflated and he was eventually taken off the route

The balloon became so deflated, with handlers dragging it along by the time it reached the Upper West Side at 42nd Street, that it had to exit the parade

Primeggia said: ‘The left leg was ripped right as we started. The hole was three inches circumference, but they didn’t tape it or anything,’ said Primeggia.

However the balloon became so deflated, with handlers dragging it along by the time it reached Upper West Side to 42nd Street it had to exit the parade. 

‘I am very disappointed, I wanted to go through Herald Square and be on TV,’ Primeggia added. And Ronald McDonald’s unfortunate demise did little to dampen the spirits of revelers who turned out to watch the parade, with performers including Celine Dion, Billy Porter, Idina Menzel and the Black Eyed Peas singing festive tunes from eye-catching floats. 

The parade, which got underway at 9am, began at the corner of West 77th Street and Central Park West in New York City as it made its way down Sixth Avenue to Macy’s Herald Square location.

Snoopy, a new version of a longtime parade favorite, was among the giant inflated characters leading the lineup and was dressed as an astronaut uniform to  celebrate the 50th anniversary of the historic Apolo 11 Moon landing. 

Millions of people lined the streets of New York to watch the 2019 Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, featuring a dazzling display of giant balloons, which officials said would fly despite concerns over the wind

Millions of people lined the streets of New York to watch the 2019 Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, featuring a dazzling display of giant balloons, which officials said would fly despite concerns over the wind

The famous Snoopy balloon, who was dressed as an astronaut to honor NASA's achievements, hovers above the crowd during the 93rd Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in Manhattan

The famous Snoopy balloon, who was dressed as an astronaut to honor NASA’s achievements, hovers above the crowd during the 93rd Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in Manhattan

Handlers were keeping at least some of the giant balloons close to the ground, making them more manageable in the wind

Handlers were keeping at least some of the giant balloons close to the ground, making them more manageable in the wind

Celine Dion dazzled in a long cobalt blue gown as she sang a rendition of her new song 'Imperfections' at the start of the parade

Celine Dion dazzled in a long cobalt blue gown as she sang a rendition of her new song ‘Imperfections’ at the start of the parade

Parade officials and the New York Police Department had been keeping an eye on wind gauges along the 2.5-mile route that snakes through Manhattan. The balloons aren’t allowed to fly if it’s too windy.

But Macy’s Vice President Susan Tercero had good news a half-hour before the parade’s start. ‘We’re going to start, and they’re going to fly a little lower,’ she said on NBC. Mayor Bill de Blasio also tweeted the ‘good news.’

He claimed: ‘Good News, New York City: the winds are holding and the #MacysThanksgivingDayParade balloons will FLY!.’

The NYPD’s highway patrol department provided a cavalcade and sounded their sirens as they signaled the beginning of the parade, with Tom the giant turkey leading the route. 

The famous Snoopy balloon, who was clad in an NASA astronaut, was flying low to adhere to safety requirements, with stronger than usual winds meaning that all balloons flew low at a height of 15 to 35 feet.

Ashanti

Lea Michele

Grammy-Award winning singer Ashanti, (left), and Lea Michele, (right), performed festive songs atop floats for the parade 

Parade officials and the New York Police Department had been keeping an eye on wind gauges along the 2.5-mile parade route that snakes through Manhattan. The balloons aren't allowed to fly if it's too windy

Parade officials and the New York Police Department had been keeping an eye on wind gauges along the 2.5-mile parade route that snakes through Manhattan. The balloons aren’t allowed to fly if it’s too windy

A marching band smiles gleefully as they prepare to perform at the 93rd Macy's Thanksgiving Parade on Thursday

A marching band smiles gleefully as they prepare to perform at the 93rd Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade on Thursday 

Spongebob SquarePants and Gary the Snail balloon hovers above the crowd during the 93rd Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Spongebob SquarePants and Gary the Snail balloon hovers above the crowd during the 93rd Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Participants pose up with a Macy's display for the 93rd annual Thanksgiving Parade which got underway at 9am

Participants pose up with a Macy’s display for the 93rd annual Thanksgiving Parade which got underway at 9am 

Ciara

Idina Menzel

Among the performers scheduled are actor Billy Porter of ‘Pose,’ and singers Celine Dion, the Black Eyed Peas and Idina Menzel and Ciara (pictured together above)

Idina Menzel and Ciara who are both performing at the 2019 Parade were seen laughing with each other just before 9am

Idina Menzel and Ciara who are both performing at the 2019 Parade were seen laughing with each other just before 9am

Destiny's Child singer Kelly Rowland kept revelers entertained as she performed a Christmas carol from float outside Macy's

Destiny’s Child singer Kelly Rowland kept revelers entertained as she performed a Christmas carol from float outside Macy’s

The balloons were also being monitored by parade officials along the route who had anemometers to prevent any incidents or injuries happening to the crowd. 

Spectators lined up a half-dozen deep along the route on a breezy but beautiful fall day, with leaves and confetti swirling in the wind.

Joanna Mammen and her family came from Bradford County in northern Pennsylvania to revisit the parade she attended every year — rain, shine or wind — as a girl growing up in the Bronx.

‘My favorite float, as a kid, was Santa Claus,’ said Mammen, 69. Most of the other floats from that time, the kids these days wouldn’t even recognize. But it’s a beautiful tradition, to come out and experience the crowd.’

It was a first-time experience for her husband, Bill. And for him, it was all about sharing the fun the couple’s son, Jason, and 2-year-old grandson, Lincoln.

‘Thanksgiving is not just about the people I love. It is the people I love,’ he said.Spectators lined up a half-dozen deep along the route on a breezy but beautiful fall day, with leaves and confetti swirling in the wind.

Smokey Bear

Olaf

Handlers were keeping a firm grip of ropes to guide the balloons through the large crowds along Central Park and 6th Ave 

The Spongebob SquarePants with Gary the Snail balloon hovers above the crowd during the Thanksgiving Day Parade

The Spongebob SquarePants with Gary the Snail balloon hovers above the crowd during the Thanksgiving Day Parade

Confetti was blown high into the air as the 93rd annual Macy's Thanksgiving Parade took place on Thursday morning

Confetti was blown high into the air as the 93rd annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade took place on Thursday morning 

the Goku from Dragon Ball balloon flies low above the crowd during the 93rd Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade due to stronger than usual winds which require the balloons to fly below a certain height

the Goku from Dragon Ball balloon flies low above the crowd during the 93rd Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade due to stronger than usual winds which require the balloons to fly below a certain height 

Tom the Turkey and a dancing troupe kicked off the parade at 9 am on Thursday with an autumnal display of color

Tom the Turkey and a dancing troupe kicked off the parade at 9 am on Thursday with an autumnal display of color 

The NYPD's highway patrol department provided a cavalcade and sounded their sirens as they signaled the beginning of the parade, with Tom the giant turkey leading the route. The popular SpongeBob was seen flying low due to strong winds

The NYPD’s highway patrol department provided a cavalcade and sounded their sirens as they signaled the beginning of the parade, with Tom the giant turkey leading the route. The popular SpongeBob was seen flying low due to strong winds 

Members of the Black Eyed Peas, will.i.am, apl.de.ap, and Taboo are seen on a float just before they perform at the parade

Members of the Black Eyed Peas, will.i.am, apl.de.ap, and Taboo are seen on a float just before they perform at the parade 

Dancers dressed in elegant mustard outfits are seen waving at the crowd as they make their way along the route

Dancers dressed in elegant mustard outfits are seen waving at the crowd as they make their way along the route 

Joshua Dela Cruz, the host of Blue's Clues, sang a song on a float alongside the iconic blue puppy during the parade

Joshua Dela Cruz, the host of Blue’s Clues, sang a song on a float alongside the iconic blue puppy during the parade 

The Diary of a Wimpy Kind balloon

A giant Lego balloon impresses revelers

Spectators lined up a half-dozen deep along the route on a breezy but beautiful fall day, with leaves and confetti swirling in the wind

Santa Claus was on hand with his little helpers and trusted reindeer to bring festive cheer to the parade, armed with presents

Santa Claus was on hand with his little helpers and trusted reindeer to bring festive cheer to the parade, armed with presents

Bradley Cooper is seen watching the parade from the Dakota Building with friends and looks to be enjoying himself

Bradley Cooper is seen watching the parade from the Dakota Building with friends and looks to be enjoying himself 

The New York Police Department and officials from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade had been monitoring winds before the kickoff of the annual event, and said the character balloons were likely to fly.

A tweet, posted at 7 am, from the NYPD Midtown North Precinct account, read: ‘As of now the balloons will fly!,’ before it added, ‘Let’s hope the winds stay calm.’ 

The National Weather Service is projecting sustained winds of up to 24 mph with gusts to 40 mph during the parade. 

City rules require balloons to be grounded if sustained winds exceed 23 mph and gusts exceed 34 mph.   

The parade, one of the city’s most popular events, features about 8,000 marchers, two dozen floats, and marching bands, ending with an appearance from Santa Claus.

Among the performers scheduled for this year are actor Billy Porter of ‘Pose,’ and singers Celine Dion, Ciara, Kelly Rowland and Idina Menzel. 

The Grinch balloon looks menacingly out on to Central Park as handlers prepare to walk in the annual parade at 10 am

The Grinch balloon looks menacingly out on to Central Park as handlers prepare to walk in the annual parade at 10 am 

Actor and singer Billy Porter was immaculately turned out as he sang on board one of the floats midway through the parade

Actor and singer Billy Porter was immaculately turned out as he sang on board one of the floats midway through the parade 

Dr. Seuss' Green Eggs and Ham balloon makes its away along the parade route with the help of some trusted helpers

Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham balloon makes its away along the parade route with the help of some trusted helpers 

The Wiggle Worm balloon made its way down Broadway as the colorful sight was kept low to avoid any injuries occurring

The Wiggle Worm balloon made its way down Broadway as the colorful sight was kept low to avoid any injuries occurring 

Miss America

James P. O'Neill

Miss America Nia Franklin, (left), and outgoing NYC Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill, (right), who is due to retire shortly, were among the special guests at the parade 

French-Canadian singer Celine Dion dazzled in a long cobalt blue gown as she sang a rendition of her new song ‘Imperfections.’ 

RnB singer Ciara performed a high-octane dance routine and the song ‘Level Up’ on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles float with back-up dancers. Grammy-Award winning singer Ashanti also performed on the Kinder Bueno float, all dressed in white, as she sang the classic Christmas song ‘Let it Snow.’

Some balloons on display include much loved classics, while others include new additions, like Astronaut Snoopy – in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing – Netflix’s Green Eggs and Ham, and SpongeBob SquarePants.

‘It’s just amazing. I’m like, look how long that thing is!,’ Georgia resident Nancy Cochran told CBS. 

‘This is our very first time. Lifelong New Yorker, and it’s on my bucket list,’ Upper West Side resident Shalini Matani said. ‘Now that I have a 4-year-old who can appreciate it, we decided to come.’  

NYPD Chief of Police Rodney Harrison had the final say on whether the balloons fly, and how high.

The character balloons can go as high as 55 feet off the ground and as low as 10 feet. The rules requiring them to be grounded in high-wind conditions came after wind blew a ‘Cat in the Hat’ balloon into a lamppost near Central Park in 1997, critically injuring a woman.

In 2005, eight years after the ‘Cat and the Hat’ went off course, an M&M’s balloon smacked into a lamppost in Times Square, causing cuts and bruises to a woman in a wheelchair and her 11-year-old sister.

Deborah Gibson

Adrienne Warren

Deborah Gibson, (left), entertained revelers, as did Adrienne Warren, (right), who plays the iconic soul singer Tina Turner in the Broadway show Tina 

The jolly Green Giant is seen cascading above the crowd past Macy's Department store on 34rd street as revelers look on

The jolly Green Giant is seen cascading above the crowd past Macy’s Department store on 34rd street as revelers look on 

Macy's performers with giant pink pom-poms participate in the 93rd Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in Manhattan

Macy’s performers with giant pink pom-poms participate in the 93rd Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in Manhattan

The parade, one of the city's most popular events, features about 8,000 marchers, two dozen floats, and marching bands

The parade, one of the city’s most popular events, features about 8,000 marchers, two dozen floats, and marching bands

Confetti flies at the start of the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade as girls wait to march and sing at the beginning of the route

Confetti flies at the start of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade as girls wait to march and sing at the beginning of the route 

The New York Police Department and officials from the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade had been monitoring winds on before the kickoff of the annual event, and said the character balloons were likely to fly

The New York Police Department and officials from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade had been monitoring winds on before the kickoff of the annual event, and said the character balloons were likely to fly

Girls painted with clown faces and wearing firefighters uniform get ready for the annual Macys' Thanksgiving parade

Girls painted with clown faces and wearing firefighters uniform get ready for the annual Macys’ Thanksgiving parade

The Second Time Arounders Marching Band, which has members from the ages of 16 to 85, performs festive songs

The Second Time Arounders Marching Band, which has members from the ages of 16 to 85, performs festive songs  

Macy’s CEO Jeffrey Gennette promised a great parade with the balloons ‘at half mast or not,’ he said.

‘The people handling the balloons are all Macy’s employees or Macy’s friends and family, Gennette added. 

The parade is the 93rd annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. Gennette described it as the company’s ‘gift to America.’  

‘This started 93 years ago with a group of colleagues who wanted to do something for family and their community.  ‘It is a very proud moment for the Macy’s family.’ 

He said fans would most likely be excited about the balloons.  ‘You’re going to be really excited about the return to Snoopy. This is Snoopy as an astronaut which is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the landing on the moon.

‘With the floats, get ready for the glitter with the Coach float. It is spectacular and every kid is going to love the Lego float.

‘My personal favorite is the turning Macy’s singing Christmas tree. Isn’t that awesome? We have 100 of our colleagues singing their hearts out to America.’ 

Today show anchors Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb  hosted the festivities for NBC amid inclement weather conditions

Today show anchors Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb  hosted the festivities for NBC amid inclement weather conditions 

The Snoopy balloon handlers are seen waiting for the start of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday

The Snoopy balloon handlers are seen waiting for the start of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday 

A man dressed up in one of the troupes looks like he is having fun as the parade got underway on Thursday morning

A man dressed up in one of the troupes looks like he is having fun as the parade got underway on Thursday morning

A marching band gets ready to perform before the annual Macys' Thanksgiving parade on November 28 in New York City

A marching band gets ready to perform before the annual Macys’ Thanksgiving parade on November 28 in New York City

Macy's CEO Jeffrey Gennette promised a great parade with the balloons 'at half mast or not,' he said

 Macy’s CEO Jeffrey Gennette promised a great parade with the balloons ‘at half mast or not,’ he said

Balloon handlers - all of whom are Macy's employees or friends and family - wait for the start of the parade on Thursday

Balloon handlers – all of whom are Macy’s employees or friends and family – wait for the start of the parade on Thursday  

To be a part of the parade, Macy’s staff have to audition. Genette said they hold ‘thousands’ of auditions throughout the year.   

In 2017, a gust on an otherwise calm day sent a smaller balloon into a tree branch. That one popped and fell harmlessly onto the crowd.

Winter storms continued to cause chaos in some parts of the country on Thursday, with the National Weather Service warning of a ‘cornucopia of hazards’ from Thanksgiving through the weekend.

Snow in the West and Midwest ahead of the holiday caused hundreds of flight cancellations and stranded cars on a highway linking Northern California and Oregon for hours. 

The National Weather Service warned on Thursday: ‘Thanksgiving 2019 will be remembered as a stormy day for many in the West. A cornucopia of hazards will continue to develop eastward across the country through the weekend.’

Thousands of NYPD officers will be positioned along the parade route and will include counter terrorist teams with guns and plainclothes cops. Around three dozen explosive detection K-9s will also be in operation and the force also intends to have a drone flying to monitor the parade route. 

 Police cars and sand-filled sanitation trucks were also in place to stop cars from driving into crowds. Technology was also being employed to detect drones, which are illegal to fly in densely-populated areas in New York City. 

Counter-terrorism Chief James Waters explained that the technology used caught multiple drones flying at the time of the United Nations General Assembly in September, which were non-hostile.   



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