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Millions Line The Streets For 85th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

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Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 24, 2011 in New York City. (credit: Juliet Papa/1010 WINS)

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 24, 2011 in New York City. (credit: Juliet Papa/1010 WINS)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — It was a picture perfect day as millions of spectators lined the streets of Manhattan this morning for the 85th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

PHOTOS: On The Parade Route

Music and cheers accompanied the balloons and floats as they made their way down Seventh Avenue.

For some, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a yearly, family tradition.

“I’ve been coming to this parade for 45 years,” one man told CBS 2’s Kristin Thorne. “Every, single year at this spot.”

For others, it was their first time.

“It’s on my bucket list,” said one woman.

Leading the balloon pack this year was Sonic the Hedgehog.

“I never stood under something that big in the air,” said one young girl.

Among new balloons this year were Paul Frank’s Julius and a freakish creation from filmmaker Tim Burton that joined over a dozen other giant balloons, including fan favorites like Snoopy and Spider-Man.

Also featured in the parade were more than 40 other balloon creations, 27 floats, 800 clowns and 1,600 cheerleaders.

Mary J. Blige, Cee Lo Green, Avril Lavigne and the Muppets of Sesame Street also took part, some at the end of the route in Herald Square and others performing on floats.

The larger than life balloons, the music and the performers make even adults feel like little kids again.

The parade kicked off at 77th Street and Central Park West and headed south, ending at Macy’s Herald Square.

About 3.5 million people were expected to crowd the parade route while an additional 50 million were watching from home.

The parade got its start in 1924 and included live animals such as camels, goats and elephants. It was not until 1927 that the live animals were replaced by giant helium balloons. The parade was suspended from 1942 to 1944 because rubber and helium were needed for World War II.

Since the beginning, the balloons have been based on popular cultural characters and holiday themes.

All the balloons are created at Macy’s Parade Studio, and each undergoes testing for flight patterns, aerodynamics, buoyancy and lift.

The giant balloons were inflated and lined up on the Upper West Side Wednesday night.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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