NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Children of the 1980s will get a nostalgic reminder of that era’s Saturday morning cartoons later this month, as Hello Kitty and Papa Smurf appear in giant balloon form in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Hello Kitty, the iconic Japanese animated character who has appeared on everything from jewelry and checks to jet planes, is among the balloons unveiled by Macy’s for this year’s parade. She will be joined by Papa Smurf, as well as The Elf on the Shelf of children’s picturebook fame.
The three balloons underwent a test drive on Saturday morning in New Jersey. The event was not open to the public.
At the parade on Thursday, Nov. 22, they will be joined by an assortment of other balloons, along with clowns, floats from the patriotic to the frivolous, the NYPD Marching Band, and of course, Santa Claus.
This year marks the 86th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Featured musical acts will span the generations, with performances by Carly Rae Jepsen of “Call Me Maybe” fame, Flo Rida, Karmin, Don McLean of “American Pie” notoriety, and Jimmy Fallon and the Roots.
The parade begins at 9 a.m. Thanksgiving Day 77th Street and Central Park West, then heads south along Central Park West and east along 59th Street to 6th Avenue, and finally to Macy’s Herald Square at 34th Street.
Last year’s parade featured more than 40 balloon creations, 27 floats, 800 clowns and 1,600 cheerleaders. All the Macy’s balloons undergo testing for flight patterns, aerodynamics, buoyancy and lift so they can safely navigate the parade route.
The first parade was staged by the store in 1924, with floats, professional bands, and animals from the Central Park Zoo. It was originally organized by immigrant employees at Macy’s who were looking to give thanks for the opportunities they had found in America.
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