NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The 88th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is set to roll Thursday morning, but before the balloons take center stage someone has to blow them all up.

As CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock reported, it’s a tradition of its own on the Upper West Side right outside the Museum of Natural History.

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By Wednesday afternoon, several balloons were already dancing along West 77th Street, with dozens more to go.

Photos: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloon Preview

Fan favorites Snoopy and Woodstock were the first to be inflated by crews decked out in necessary rain gear.

“My favorite balloon is Snoopy,” said 8-year-old Skyelar Weiss.

“(What’s the cooled balloon here?) I think maybe the snoopy,” said 9-year-old Ashley Freedland.

There are some newcomers on the block this year too, including Pikachu and Thomas the Tank Engine. CBS2 was at Citi Field a few weekends ago for their first test flight.

And the cold, damp and dreary weather didn’t stop droves of fans from making it to the Macy’s inflation celebration destination, Murdock reported.

“(Murdock: You look forward to this all year?) We do! We moved here about four years ago from downtown and it was just a bonus. We didn’t know that we would have this perk, I guess, of living on the block,” one Upper West Side resident said.

“I’m kind of sad that it’s raining because I don’t like going to the balloons in the rain,” one 8-year-old told 1010 WINS’ Derrick Dennis.

It’s little Logan’s first Thanksgiving and his mom Nicole Baumle said being beside the balloons was perfect.

“I love it, rain and all,” she said.

Perhaps loving it more was her uncle Terry Jobe.

“There’s nothing like Christmas and Thanksgiving in New York. Family is very important to me, especially at Thanksgiving. They’re all here, I’m thrilled in spite of the weather,” he said.

1010 WINS Afternoon Anchor Brian Carey talked with Amy Kule, the executive producer of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, about what viewers and paradegoers can expect at this year’s event.

Click the audio player below to listen to the full interview.

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Some of the balloons are as big as 70-feet-tall.

“We got several competing for the tallest and the Might Morphing Power Ranger is one of them,” Kule told Murdock. “Spider-Man is in that same family.”

Kule said volunteers, like the ones helping inflate the balloons, are the spirit of the parade.

“In total, about 8,000 people bring this parade to life,” she said.

“We’ve got several competing for the tallest and the Mighty Morphin’ Power Ranger is one of them. Spider-Man and Elf on the Shelf,” Kuel told CBS2’s Weijia Jiang.

So how do the giant balloons come to life? Massive trucks are filled with helium gas — roughly the equivalent of 2.2 million liquid gallons. That’s enough to fill half a million balloons, Murdock reported.

Richard Dinwiddie, with Linde North America, oversees the inflation and assured Murdock the weather will not impact their efforts.

“I don’t think the weather has the impact on blowing them up. I think wind becomes a consideration when it’s actually time to launch them,” he said. “We’re like the mail man, we’re gonna be here regardless.”

As for the weather, the good news is the wind should be settling down before Thanksgiving morning, Murdock reported. Wednesday night, though, those who venture out to watch the balloons being inflated should expect gusty winds of up to 40 miles per hour.

If you do decide to brave the weather, there are 49 balloons to check out.

1010 WINS is the Official Radio Station of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

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