EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Some new faces making their debut at this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade were on full display Saturday.
The final testing before the five new balloons take flight on Thanksgiving is vitally important, according to Susan Tercero with Macy’s Entertainment.
“We get to see how they maneuver, what’s going on, we also have the inspectors from the department of transportation and NYPD and everybody are here to take a look at the balloons as well because they have to sign off on the balloons,” she told 1010 WINS’ Samantha Liebman.
“The height of the balloon, how it reacts to the handlers, and how it reacts to the four letter word ‘wind’ that we don’t like to talk about,” balloon pilot Michael Giurici said.
Among them are Olaf from the Disney film “Frozen,” Chase from “Paw Patrol,” and even the Grinch — a familiar character — is making a return as what’s being called a “ballonicle.”
“A ‘balloonicle’ is when we put a balloon and a vehicle together, so that it can maneuver itself down the parade route,” Macy’s Studio Vice President John Piper said.
And you can’t forget the icons, including the revival of Harold the Baseball Player, who’s seen in the movie “Miracle on 34th Street.” In celebration of the film’s 70th anniversary, the balloon has been specially repainted.
“Even though you’re going to televise in color, we painted him black and white so he looks just like the balloon did way back when,” Piper told CBS2’s Reena Roy.
So what brings the dozens of volunteer handlers like Joni DeAndrea back year after year?
“You get there early, you stand around, you’re cold, and then you turn that corner and you see all those kids faces, and there’s nothing like it,” she said.
The new additions to this year’s parade are sure to keep those smiles coming.
Little ones crowded around for an up close and personal look Saturday.
“I’m feeling pretty excited,” said Gabriella Botti. “I’ve never seen them up close before and I’ve always seen them on TV.”
“It’s really cool and it’s really freezing outside,” Jaelyn Gonzalez said, adding it’s worth it.
Which balloons were the crowd favorites?
“I’d have to say the Grinch,” said Botti.
“Well, Olaf, because he’s really fun and cute,” another girl added.
The signature helium giants were first introduced in 1927, with the parade becoming a Turkey Day must for many American families across the nation.
“Tradition — we watch it every year,”
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade starts at 9 a.m. on 77th Street in Manhattan.