Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Sharing the Macy’s parade with these two young women is reason enough to get up at 4:30 am, and…

  • walk several blocks to find a cab to the staging area at the New Yorker Hotel on 34th Street,
  • stand in line; then get into jump suit “costumes” while debating how many layers we will need underneath,
  • 2 or 3 hats? Scarves?
  • and no drinking, as it is a long way between bathrooms,
  • then a bus to the balloon staging area on 77th Street; then anticipation for 2 hours.

Our pilot and crew, who guide us down the Parade route, go through the instructions. A crew member leads us in jumping jacks and other exercises to keep our body temperatures up. Finally, we hear the TV commentator announce the first balloon, which is Hello Kitty. It’s pretty exciting now as we are the third balloon in line, following Kermit the Frog and Charlie Brown’s football, which is handled by a crew wearing blue outfits, depicting Lucy.

As soon as step out into the parade, we hear shouts, “Char-lie, Char-lie,” making our hearts soar!

 

Charlie Brown under wraps at 7:00 am.

 

Steve Martino, director of the Peanuts movie to be released in 2015, is part of our crew.

 

Ooops! 7:15 am: Airborne Charlie Brown with loose bloomers. A shot of helium was added with a ladder and a long hose.

 

The handlers’ view of Charlie Brown, full of helium.

 

It takes more than 30 people and 2 golf carts to keep the helium-filled balloon from flying away.

 

A cute “trick” our “captains” thought we could play on the crowd — at the captains’ command the Charlie Brown handlers would run as fast as we could up to the football shouting a sort of rumbling noise. Then as the football pulled out of reach, we would heave a Charlie Brown sigh of disappointment. We couldn’t tell from our perspective below the balloon whether it came  off at all, but it did amuse us for the moment!!

 

By 10:30 am we had rounded the corner by Macy’s, back where we started, and  it was all over. Within 15 minutes the helium was gone, and Charlie Brown was being folded up.

 

At the “deflation” party!

 

Rolling Charlie Brown up to pack him away until another parade.

 

                                                                                                                                               –Jean Schulz

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