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

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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.)

  • Fumble on the Play, Worst Coverage EVER

    Terrible coverage. Totally agree with Sue & Ray. It was 95% talk show, 5% parade. It would have been nice to feature the bands, dancers, floats etc. instead of two rambling idiots. Next year, hire Miss Piggy and Kermit. I assure you they would do a better job.

  • Sue & Ray

    This should have been called a Thanksgiving Day “talk show.” What terrible coverage of the parade. We want to see “all” of the balloons, floats, and bands, not a bunch of people talking. Those bands work so hard to be able to be a part of the parade and you couldn’t even show them and mention their names. We don’t want to see a bunch of celebrities talking or see a band that is playing inside one of the buildings. Come on CBS, this was terrible!!! SHAME ON YOU!!! THIS WAS ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS AND SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN CALLED “PARADE” COVERAGE!!!!

    • Johnny

      Hello Sue & Ray, I videotaped the entire Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade 2011 and 2010 -. COMMERCIAL FREE!!!

      • Rexton

        hi Johnny,

        you’ve done a fantastic job. I looked long and hard for a HD recording of the parade and your is the best!!!! my 4y old son will be happy! Happy Thanksgiving to you.

  • Ms M in NC

    Was there really a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade today??? I tried to watch it but two goofballs were in the way the whole time!!! The most unintelligent commentators and I swear she hit the eggnog way too early! CBS really failed us in this one. I was embarrassed for Neil Diamond and others too. They only got a few seconds of air time and couldn’t be heard. I will never stay home to watch again.

  • Maine Kid

    Very disappointed!

    • Johnny

      The news coverage on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade 2011 was TERRIBLE!! You WON’T be disappointed when you watch the ENTIRE Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade on youtube, COMMERCIAL FREE – RAZOR SHARP HD Video.

  • Disappointed

    So disappointed. More than 50 bands, yet only 3 were shown. Who cares about what is playing on broadway, going to Kentucky, travelling from London or anything else that the commentators said. Then the finale with Santa was dismal. What were the producers thinking? YYipee, the commentators had breakfast with some band members in Hard Rock and pictures were from the Marriott…. who cares? CBS should issue an apology to the viewers who suffered through any or all of the program.

  • Kathy

    What a waste of time. I am very disappointed in this broadcast and will not be viewing this again.

  • Don

    Couldn’t agree more with most of the comments. Where did they get this Christina really obnoxious. Interrupting everyone. Couldn’t take it Anymore. Had to switch to NBC

  • The Realist

    Another parade, another gross misuse of our tax dollars.

  • ColoradoGram

    Enough with the talking heads and all the non-parade nonsense!

    I’m watching with my 3 and 5 year-old grandchildren and this is getting very frustrating for them and me. They see a float or balloon in the background and get very excited, then…nothing. A few minutes ago it was a pirate ship, they greeted with “Look, look, a pirate ship’s coming!” But that was all they saw of it.

    I’m sorry I built up this parade so much for them–I know they’ll enjoy Santa’s arrival at the end, I only hope I can keep them interested ’til then.

    I just heard the girl with the reindeer hat say, “There are so many beautiful floats.” Gee, it would be nice if we could see them, too.

    Note to CBS: A parade is a series of floats, marching bands, and for the Macy’s parade, big balloons. When people tune-in to a parade, they expect to see a parade, not a daytime version of a late night talk show. Needless to say, I doubt we’ll bother watching this parade on TV again.

    • Kathy

      I agree. This was the worst parade I have ever seen. I watched the entire parade and never saw our high school band. I saw more commercials and talking heads than a parade.

      • ColoradoGram

        Turns out I was wrong about Sanat, too. By the time Santa arrived my daughter-in-law and I were in the kitchen my grandkids were playing at the other end of the living roon–my son was the only one keeping an eye on the parade while he read the paper.

        As soon as we heard my son shout, “Okay, here comes Santa!” everyone dashed back to the TV, and got a ten to (maybe) fifteen second view of Santa and Mrs. Claus. Another bust. At least by then the kids were busy with other things so just went back to playing–it didn’t seem to bother them much.

        We had dinner with friends, and someone mentioned how awful the parade was, and my son said, “On, don’t get my Mom started–she actually sent a message to CBS!” (Well, what’s the internet for?) Everyone agreed it was terrible, but they didn’t send comments to CBS, they just turned it off about half-way through.

        I hope Macy’s finds another network to broadcast the parade, because we’ll never watch it on CBS again.

        Other than this silly parade, we had a wonderful Thanksgiving–hope you did, too.

  • Connie

    Booooo to CBS for the worst Parade coverage ever. The hosts never stop the yak yak yak. Where are the beautiful floats and wonderful balloons? We can hear the cheers from the crowd in the background but see nothing. Our children are so disappointed, and so are the adults that have gathered in our house to watch THE PARADE. Disgraceful!!!.

  • Tucson Mom

    Less talk, more parade please! Commentators should be just that – not the center of the show. We are missing the parade!

  • Joe Schmo

    More important issue at hand: how much $$$$$$ is Gloomberg going to somehow make off this parade? Drives my bonkers to see people make extra money who clearly don’t need it.

  • Kathleen

    The animosity between these hosts is hilarious! But boring too hahaha! Back to NBC.

  • Kathleen

    Worst hosts ever. OMG hahahaha! The animosity between them is hilarious!

  • Kathleen

    Worst. Hosts. Ever. Hahahahaha!

  • Rileigh

    LOVE IT! Watching it now at home in Illinois. GO GIRL!! AVRIL LAVIGNE IS MY FAVORITE SINGER!! What I’d do to have you here, here, here, I wish you were here. SHOUT OUT TO AVRIL GIRL! I LOVE YOU!!!!

  • Brenda Landry

    I’m watching the Chicago parade instead.

  • Brenda Landry

    this is horrible to watch. You don’t see the bands,balloons, or the floats. I do not want to watch people talking and celebs. SHOW THE PARADE!

  • Jean

    can you believe this 1 woman show. Lets count the times she says I Me My. I can’t believe she broke in while the guy was talking about Scotty , he’s the biggest thing going right now and she breaks in with “I remember drinking kool-aid as a kid” She is stepping over everyone’s comments and what’s with the competition between her and the girl reporting from the streets.??? This isn’t a talent show, get back to the floats and entertainers. And someone take the mike aaway from her. PLEASE

  • Familyfrom Mobile, Al

    All we want to see is the acutal parade. Stop showing the three people talking and show the parade. You have let beautiful floats and entertain go by and not even show it … all we can see is the top of them.

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