EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork)Thanksgiving may still be more than three weeks away, but preparations for the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade are already in full swing.

CBS2’s Marc Liverman got a preview at the Meadowlands on Saturday, where some of the biggest stars of this year’s parade went on a test flight at “Balloonfest.”

John Piper, vice president of production for Macy’s Parade Studio, says it’s fun to debut the brand-new balloons at the event, but there’s also a technical element to the day.

“Today is their final test flight, so we’re going to have the teams who will actually be piloting them and captaining them down the parade route here to take them for a run, a couple of laps around this parking lot so we can see exactly how they perform with the wind from each direction and the balance of the balloon with all the handlers,” said John Piper, vice president of production for Macy’s Parade Studio.

New balloons for the 93rd Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade include Smokey Bear, SpongeBob SquarePants and Gary, the Peanuts character Snoopy dressed as an astronaut and “Green Eggs and Ham” from the new Netflix show based on the Dr. Seuss book.

Watch: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Executive Producer Susan Tercero Discusses Balloonfest —

Piper says a typical balloon takes anywhere from five to nine months from “the time we start putting pencil to paper” until the Balloonfest test flight.

Specs On New Balloons

Astronaut Snoopy

  • 49 feet tall, 43 feet long and 29 feet wide
  • 4 stories tall
  • 7 bicycles long
  • 6 cabs wide
  • 90 Handlers

Green Eggs And Ham

  • 46 feet by 51 feet by 27 feet
  • 4 stories tall
  • 9 bicycles
  • 5 taxis
  • 90 handlers

Love Flies Up To The Sky

  • 34 feet by 30 feet by 36 feet
  • 3 stories tall
  • 5 bicycles
  • 7 cabs
  • 40 handlers

Smokey Bear

  • 51 feet by 16 feet by 25 feet
  • 4 stories tall
  • 3 bicycles
  • 5 cabs
  • 40 handlers

Spongebob Squarepants & Gary

  • 44 feet by 46 feet by 36 feet
  • 4 stories tall
  • 8 bicycles
  • 7 cabs
  • 90 handlers

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