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Nov 23

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All About Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Balloons 2010

“A floatilla of delight takes to the sky over New York City once more as giant character helium balloons soar in the 84th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade®. From a pop culture wunderkind to a high-kicking Panda, the star-studded lineup of giant character balloons in America’s Parade will turn millions of spectactors into awe-struck children as their favorite characters take larger-than-life form.

From the first time a balloon soared into the lineup in 1927, the giants have become a signature of the Macy’s Parade. Over the years, a storied cast of the world’s most famous characters have taken their place among the procession’s high-flying inflatables. From Felix the Cat, the first giant, to the Parade’s two new additions – Diary of A Wimpy Kid and Kung Fu Panda™, the star-studded list continues to grow every year.

Before the new giant balloons take flight on Thanksgiving Day, they begin life as a pencil sketch in the crafty hands of a skilled Macy’s artist. Under the direction of John Piper, vice president and lead designer of the Macy’s Parade Studio, the Studio’s resident group of “Balloonatics” are challenged to create a larger-than-life version of the well-known character. From there, the character will undergo a series of transformations. The balloon creation process is a magical combination of aerodynamics, engineering and artistic design. Macy’s conducts the creative and high-tech process in collaboration with aerodynamic and engineering consultants, Aerostar, who together calculate the balloon design’s aerodynamics, buoyancy and lift. Once a flight-worthy balloon concept has been approved, it moves on to the clay and painted model construction phase. This step helps the team create a blueprint from which the balloon will be built. After those elements have passed inspection, the process moves forward to the cutting of hundreds of patterns of polyurethane fabric that when sealed together will create elements of the character, from the head to the body. Once the balloon has been created and painted to the exact specifications of the character, it will undergo many tests including indoor and outdoor test flights, inflation and deflation tests, and final touch-ups before taking flight on Parade day.

Before a balloon can fly on Turkey Day, the new recruits must undergo their official outdoor test flight. Macy’s Balloonfest* is the official unveiling and test flight of the Parade’s new giants. At the event taking place on Saturday, Nov. 6, each balloon’s pilot and captain, and the flight management team of twelve, guide hundreds of handlers as they fly the balloon in an extreme real-world setting. At its conclusion, the balloon will be deemed flight-ready and will retire to prepare for its Thanksgiving Day debut.

Following is the Complete Cast of Giant Helium Character Balloons in the 84th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade:

BUZZ LIGHTYEAR
DISNEY•PIXAR

It’s back to 34th Street and Beyond for Buzz Lightyear, Toy Story’s fearless inter-galactic Space Ranger. In celebration of the monster hit Toy Story 3, Disney•Pixar’s hero returns for his third trip down the streets of New York to the delight of millions of fans. The larger-than-life space fighter measures 67.7-feet long, 39.9-feet wide and 34.3-feet tall. On Thanksgiving Day, Buzz is guided down the route by his trusty jet pack and a few dozen handlers.

DIARY OF A WIMPY KID
ABRAMS BOOKS

It’s not a diary, it’s a journal! So proclaims middle-schooler Greg Heffley about the book he’s clutching to his chest for security. Millions of kids along the route and in homes across the nation are bound to rejoice as they see the new Diary of A Wimpy Kid balloon take flight this Thanksgiving. At 60-feet long, 25-feet wide, and 56-feet tall, “wimpy” is not the right word to describe this balloon behemoth. From the look on his face, we have a feeling Greg will be writing about this holiday experience just as soon as he makes it to the Parade finish line.


HORTON

TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX HOME ENTERTAINMENT

Whovilleans rejoice – your giant protector returns once again to take the wonderful Whos of Whoville on another trip down Manhattan on Thanksgiving Day. Horton the Elephant, from the hit film Horton Hears A Who will keep his eyes firmly planted on the delicate clover protectively wrapped in his trunk while on his third holiday flight. Measuring 59.8-feet long, 31.8-feet wide and 43.4-feet tall on his voyage, Horton is a giant with a heart of gold and toenails the size of large beach balls!

KERMIT THE FROG
DISNEY

Kermit the Frog, the most beloved member of Disney’s Muppets, is as much a pop culture sensation today as he was when he was first introduced to global audiences 55 years ago. The star of both big and small screen, Kermit recently squired Lady Gaga to the MTV Music Awards, sang a duet on “Saturday Night Live” with Academy award-winner Robert DeNiro and took over NBC’s “Today Show” with great humor and heart. On Thanksgiving, Kermit, at 78-feet long, 36-feet wide and 60-feet tall soars high above Manhattan thanks to 11,000 cubic feet of helium. The world’s most famous amphibian is now the world’s largest one, which surely will have fans cheering up and down the route except for maybe Miss Piggy, who is more than likely to be green with envy.

“SUPERCUTE” HELLO KITTY®
SANRIO

Returning to the lineup and celebrating Sanrio’s 50th anniversary this year is Supercute Hello Kitty®. Dressed in her supercute superhero outfit, Hello Kitty will take flight once more donning a cape and tiara to complement her trademark red bow. Standing at 33.6-feet tall, 34.8-feet wide and 45-feet long, Hello Kitty will soar over the Big Apple bringing smiles to her millions of fans.

KUNG FU PANDA™
DREAMWORKS ANIMATION

At more than 16,000 cubic feet of helium, Po from Kung Fu Panda™ is truly a larger-than-life master of the ancient Chinese art of Kung Fu. Designed by the magicians at Macy’s Parade Studio, Po is created with the help of more than half a mile of fabric and is covered in 17 gallons of paint. For his Parade debut, Po the Panda measures 42-feet tall, 46-feet long, and 34-feet wide, giving him the scale to take giant leaps down the route, poised to deliver his signature martial arts moves along the way.

PIKACHU
THE POKÉMON COMPANY INTERNATIONAL

Pikachu, the most recognizable character of the Pokémon™ universe, returns to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade once again chasing after his Poké Ball. Always an electrifying presence, Pikachu holds a special secret in his rosy cheeks – electricity is stored there. Watch as Pikachu lights up Thanksgiving Day while he flies down the route standing at 53.5-feet high, 36.9-feet wide and 40.8-feet long, and filled with 15,000 cubic feet of helium.

PILLSBURY DOUGHBOY®

PILLSBURY®

The Pillsbury Doughboy® balloon returns to the Parade lineup this year for his second Thanksgiving Day flight. From his normal 8 ¾-inch frame to a balloon giant measuring 53.7-feet in length, 34.4-feet in width and 46.4-feet in height, the loveable Doughboy is sure to make a splash once again along the route. With his arms outstretched and his bright blue eyes shining in the light, the Pillsbury Doughboy is ready to ring in the holidays with millions of families across the country.

RONALD McDONALD®

McDONALD’S®

Ice skating his way down the route once again this year is the one-and-only Ronald McDonald®, the world’s most famous clown. Always in a playful mood and wearing the world’s largest pair of ice skates for a fun-filled holiday activity, Ronald measures 76.4-feet long, 28.8-feet wide and 48.6-feet tall, and is inflated with 13,650 cubic feet of helium on Parade day.

SAILOR MICKEY
DISNEY CRUISE LINE®

All aboard! It’s Sailor Mickey at the helm of the ultimate family cruise. Sailor Mickey returns to the Parade lineup sporting his nautically-inspired red, white and blue gear. Giving a Thanksgiving salute to the gathered crowds, Mickey rides down the route in style aboard a cruise ship anchor. Mickey measures 48.1-feet long, 33.6-feet wide, 60.9-feet tall and will be filled with 14,750 cubic feet of helium on his return voyage to New York this Thanksgiving.

SHREK™

DREAMWORKS ANIMATION

Shrek™, the loveable ogre from Far Far Away will be returning to the sky over Manhattan this Thanksgiving for his final flight. The truly fantastic fairytale character has had an amazing run and will retire in ogre the top style, as only he can. Standing at 44-feet tall, 47-feet long and 39.3-feet wide, Shrek is dressed in his signature woodsman outfit complete with oatmeal sweater, plaid pants and brown vest and will be filled with over 14,130 cubic feet of helium for his final trip through the Big Apple.

SMURF

LAFID BELGIUM / SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT

Happy Thanksmurfday! The sky over Manhattan will once again be blue this Thanksgiving as the giant Smurf balloon returns for another smurferrific holiday excursion. Smurfy as always, he will wave hello to millions of friends while on his high-flying trip. Measuring 57.6-feet long, 38.7-feet wide and 47-feet tall, the whimsical Smurf is filled with 15,050 cubic feet of helium on Parade day.

SNOOPY AS THE FLYING ACE

PEANUTS WORLDWIDE

Continuing his record-breaking Parade flights, Snoopy, the wildly imaginative, supremely confident world-famous beagle returns to the lineup as the Flying Ace for his 35th year. This year, Snoopy is celebrating another milestone as his PEANUTS® pals celebrate their 60th anniversary. Holding binoculars and sporting an aviator hat, goggles and a red scarf, Snoopy is ready for another showdown with the dreaded Red Baron. Ready as always for the challenge, Snoopy stands at 52-feet high, 25-feet wide and 49.5-feet long and is filled with 15,000 cubic feet of helium.

SPIDER-MAN®
MARVEL ENTERTAINMENT

Marvel’s Spider-Man® the legendary crime-fighting web-slinger returns to the Parade lineup triggering the Spider-senses of millions on Thanksgiving morning. New York’s own friendly neighborhood Super Hero™ takes to the skies over Manhattan to ensnare a new generation of fans. Spidey, in a full web-slinging pose, measures 78-feet long, 37.8-feet wide and 29.1-feet tall and is filled with 11,800 cubic feet of helium.

SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS™
NICKELODEON

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS™! On Thanksgiving, the world’s favorite undersea optimist will once again take a special holiday trip to soak up the sights and sounds of the Big Apple. Based on the pop icon and Nickelodeon television series, the balloon will absorb more than 16,200 cubic feet of helium to fly down the route. Although it may appear square, the balloon isn’t square at all, he is actually a single chamber sphere, intricately made square-shaped by more than 600 internal tie-lines. Looking dapper as always, SpongeBob SquarePants stands at 62-feet high, 38-feet wide and 28-feet long.

The following is a complete cast of Balloonicles, novelty/mid-sized and small balloons:

ARRTIE THE PIRATE
Returning to the lineup is everyone’s favorite one-eyed seafarer – Arrtie the Pirate. A recreation of the classic Pirate balloon of 1947, Arrtie stands at 36-feet tall and is filled with 3,600 cubic feet of helium easily plundered from various tanks. With map in hand, Arrtie is on a search for holiday treasure this Thanksgiving.

BASEBALL

Featuring a signature from R.H. Macy himself, the world’s largest baseball is destined to be hit right out of the park this Thanksgiving. Measuring 12-feet in height, this giant baseball is filled with over 900 cubic feet of helium on Parade day.

BASKETBALL
A giant Basketball balloon is here to cheer on Macy’s All Stars. At 15-feet in diameter, this Basketball giant will be dribbling down the route filled with 1,766 cubic feet of helium.

BEACH BALL CLUSTER

Everyone knows that a bright bouquet of balloons adds color and brings smiles to children everywhere. The Macy’s Parade Balloon Cluster returns to the lineup with the biggest, brightest beach balls ever seen in New York. With a height of 25-feet and filled with 2,858 cubic feet of helium, the balloon cluster is sure to be a big holiday treat.

BIG MAN SANTA
UNIVERSAL ORLANDO® RESORT
The star of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is the big man himself – Santa Claus. To pay tribute to his star status, Macy’s Parade Studio magicians have created a fantastic new balloon depicting the cheery man himself with a rather jolly belly, this time full of helium. Big Man Santa measures 26-feet in height and 21-feet in width and will next be seen heading south for the winter to star in Macy’s Holiday Parade at Universal Orlando® Resort.

CANDY CANE
Kids will scream in delight wishing they could get their hands on this sweet treat. This 20-foot tall red candy cane is a holiday favorite on a sky-high sugar rush.

CHLOE THE HOLIDAY CLOWN
A Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade staple, Chloe the Holiday Clown returns for another trip down New York City. At 28.5-feet tall and 18-feet wide, Chloe is filled with 2,242 cubic feet of helium.

ENERGIZER BUNNY®
ENERGIZER®
America’s favorite pink bunny returns to the Parade this year, fully charged and ready to drum up some more holiday spirit. He may dislike stop signs, but there is no stopping the Energizer Bunny® balloonicle from another super cool trip down the Parade route. Cool and collected as always, he doesn’t let the chilly November air deter him from sporting his favorite sunglasses and 45 EEE-sized flip-flops. The Energizer Bunny brings long-lasting fun as he powers down the Parade route and gets spectators to keep smiling, keep cheering and keep going.

GEOMETRIC BALLOONS
Icosahedrons rule! For the mathematically-challenged, each of the two Geometric balloons are a 20-sided polygon made up of equilateral triangles. These icosahedrons measure 16-feet in height and will be filled with 1,700 cubic feet of helium.

HAROLD THE FIREMAN
Who better to salute the city’s bravest, the men and women of the New York Fire Department, and lead the Fire Brigade Clowns down the route than that lovable character Harold the Fireman! Originally seen in the Parade of 1948, Harold is a recreation of the original balloon. At a height of 32-feet, New Yorkers can rest assured that he will keep a watchful eye over the city. Harold is supported in the air by 2,800 cubic feet of helium, which makes blowing out fires a breeze.

TAKASHI MURAKAMI’S KAIKAI & KIKI
KAIKAI KIKI CO., LTD.
Inspired by traditional Japanese paintings and kawaii (cute) culture, Takashi Murakami’s Kaikai and Kiki will take new form in this year’s Parade moving from the Superflat artistic style to helium character balloons. Like their past sculptural incarnations, Kaikai (the character in white) possesses long ears and a round, adorable face, while Kiki (the character in pink) has a more fantastical appearance, complete with three eyes and protruding fangs. As they fly down the Parade route, they are posed with heads high and arms and legs thrust out in a joyful expression. At 3-stories tall and 40-feet long, the Parade’s newest art balloons will be the largest renditions of Kaikai and Kiki to date.

KIT, CHARLIE & C.J. ELF
The Gnome balloons from the 1940s and early ‘50s have been recreated and are now Parade standards. Kit, Charlie & C.J. Elf are back for another Thanksgiving Day jaunt. At 34-feet high, 18.5-feet wide, and filled with 2,100 cubic feet of helium, these novelty balloons give a new meaning to the word “elf.”

KOOL-AID® MAN

KRAFT FOODS
Taking a skateboard ride down the Macy’s Parade route this year is none other than Kool-Aid Man! Debuting as a Parade balloonicle, the always smiling, super cool, Kool-Aid Man stands at 33-feet tall and 24-feet wide and is wearing size 130 sneakers. Enjoying the holiday with millions of fans, Kool-Aid Man can be heard shouting “Oh Yeah” as he waves his 6-foot tall hand down the route.

MACY’S STARS

Macy’s is the star of the Parade as its signature five-pointed star flies high in a variety of colors and configurations. Celebrating the famed red star that guided R.H. Macy to shore during his days as a seaman, the Macy’s star still shines today.

MACY’S ORNAMENT BALLOONS/BALLOONICLES
Macy’s knows how to accessorize the holidays! From Poinsettias and Pumpkins to Snow Crystals, Macy’s ornament balloons add a splendid touch to the holiday palette. Making their debut this year are two new dazzling ornament balloonicles that will ride down the route reminding everyone that Christmas is almost here.

PLANET EARTH
POWER RANGERS SAMURAI
Saving the world is the mission of the famed Power Rangers who will be introducing their next generation of rangers, Power Rangers Samurai, at the Parade this year. The beloved group of heroes will lead a 14-foot wide stunning orb featuring the beauty of Planet Earth down the line of march. Go Go Power Rangers!

STRAWBERRY/PISTACHIO ICE CREAM CONE
Looking very delicious, the Strawberry/Pistachio Ice Cream Cone balloon stands 30-feet tall, top to cone tip and is a scrumptious treat for the sweet-toothed crowds.

UNCLE SAM

Let’s hear it for the red, white and blue as Uncle Sam makes his way down Manhattan in true patriotic spirit. The first Uncle Sam balloon debuted in the Parade in 1938 and flew until 1940. This latest Uncle Sam balloon is a recreation of the 1938 original. Representing everything American, Uncle Sam is a proud citizen of the Parade and the USA!

VIRGINIA

Making her debut in the Macy’s Parade this year is a little girl who taught everybody to believe! Modeled after the animated version of 8-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon, who famously wrote to the editor of the New York Sun about the existence of Santa Claus, Virginia is ready to kick off the holidays for her inaugural flight. And although, she “saw it in the Sun, so it must be so,” Virginia will have a special treat when she escorts Santa Claus himself down the Parade route.

WIGGLEWORM
The Wiggleworm balloon in all its multicolored glory returns to the Parade this year. At 15-feet high, 19.3-feet wide and filled with 3,900 cubic feet of helium, this worm will wiggle its way into Parade spectators’ hearts this Thanksgiving.

More information on Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade can be found online at www.macys.com/parade or by calling the Parade hotline at 212-494-4495.”

Source & Photos: Macy’s

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