Some of the city's true characters got an inflated sense of self this weekend as part of the preparations for the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. NY1's Natalie Duddridge filed the following report.
Pumped up and inflated balloon characters were brought to life at Balloonfest, a test drive ahead of the 89th annual Macy's Thanskgiving Day Parade.
"It's a 14-month process from beginning to end. All comes together on Thanksgiving Day," said Michael Giurici, who will fly the "Scrat" balloon. "We do six trainings a year to train how to fly the balloon down the parade route."
In addition to new volunteers, four new characters will take to the skies this year, including Scrat from Ice Age, already a hit with kids.
Even though Ronald McDonald is a veteran, having flown 15 times before, he's debuting a new sport coat this year.
Dino from Sinclair Petroleum is one of the only life-sized balloons they've ever done. He is literally the size of Brontosaurus.
Dino's prehistoric story dates back pretty far with the parade, too.
"We're happy to have a classic come back to the parade with Dino the dinosaur," said Amy Kule, executive producer of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. "He has an incredible history, flying for 13 years in the parade starting in the '60s, and he flew at the World's Fair and retired at the Museum of Natural History."
Then, there's Red from Angry Birds, the only balloon in the parade who's not happy about it.
It takes 50 to 100 handlers to safely guide each character along the route.
"Hold onto that rope," said volunteer Anne Marie Gorman. "You don't have to hold on for dear life because you've got the truck that's going to keep you anchored. You're just cheering up the crowd. You have to stay in line."
Millions will line the route on Thanksgiving Day, a holiday tradition not just for viewers, but for organizers, too. Designer Jon Piper has planned this event for the last 35 years.
"We never stop working on the parade," Piper said. "This is the 89th, but we're already working on 90th, doing a little research to 100th."
Testing at Balloonfest is just one of the many events that lead up to the big day. On Thanksgiving Eve, you can check out the official inflation open to the public from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. at 79th Street and Columbus Avenue.