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New York City’s annual Thanksgiving Day parade returns without COVID restrictions

New York City’s annual Thanksgiving Day Parade kicked off today in front of millions of spectators.

The parade is in full swing this year after two years of COVID restrictions. The parade follows a 2.5-mile route from the Upper West Side to 34th Street.

Dressed up and ready to fly, Dino and Baby Dino are just a few of the familiar balloon faces ready to glide through the streets.

“This is our first time here to see balloons,” said Monica DeBride, a parade spectator. “We are New Yorkers, born and raised, but I was excited to bring my daughter along for the first time.”

Nearly 3 million people will be on shore to watch the official 8,000 performers during the holiday season. For many, the fun began yesterday as crowds gathered throughout the day to watch the balloons pop.

Cindy Mandat, a visitor from Florida, said, “We didn’t know how big they were. Now we see why they’re all tied up.”

This year there will be 16 giant character balloons, 28 floats, a dozen marching bands, 700 clowns and, of course, Santa Claus.

Parade viewer Alex Williams said, “My favorite was actually “The Diary of a Wimpy Kid”.

The New York Police Department is beefing up security for the holiday parade as a precaution after two recent mass shootings in Virginia and Colorado, but police say there is no known, credible threat to the festivities.

Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said, “Rest assured, there will be officers you will see and there will be officers you will not.” “We’re here in the air. We’re here in the crowd. We’re here on the way. We’re here to keep you safe.”

Some of the bigger balloons people said were Minions, Papa Smurf, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. There will also be appearances and performances by Paula Abdul, Kirk Franklin and Funny Girls of Broadway.

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