Plenty To Be Thankful For This Year…

24 Nov

Many New Yorkers were fortunate to begin their recovery from the worst storm in over 100 years. Some lost nearly everything while most were inconvenienced  but somehow or another everyone was affected by Sandy. The devastation and destruction that followed helped to bring out the best in New Yorkers and bring people together when it mattered most and that’s what makes me proud to be from New York. So in this year’s version of the 86th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, I definitely heard the crowd scream louder than years before especially from the section of over 5,000 storm survivors affected the most.

Being the first marching band to kick off the parade is quite an honor and this years band was the top band from North Carolina, The Blue and Gold marching Machine from North Carolina A&T State University. They were amazing to watch as they all marched in precise steps without missing a beat. Right behind them was a new balloon entry as Miss Kitty came flying in on her new snazzy airplane. The kids just loved it. And of course the Charlie Brown balloon chasing the football is always a crowd favorite. It was only fitting this year that the mounted police  trotted in before the cops and robbers clowns and the policeman novelty balloon. Another marching band highlight was the entry from Ohio; the Kenton Ridge HS marching band. They were very good and made the crowd get loud with their moves. Kung Fu Panda was behind them to keep them in line…just in case.

Every year a band is invited from outside the US and this year’s honored guests came from Veracruz,Mexico. They brought their own style into the mix. The jungle themed clowns only meant that none other Julius was the next balloon to make their way down the parade route. The patriotic theme was clearly visible when soldier and Revolutionary clowns made their way in before Miss Teen USA came in waving to the crowd. The Uncle Sam balloon had to make a quick departure on 42nd St. as it was quickly deflating. Never fear though as right behind was the crowd favorite Spiderman balloon. A nice treat for the crowd was the Air Force Marching Band.

Clowns dressed up as firefighters were just in front of the fireman novelty balloon while the ZhuZhu pets float drew a big response from the kids. They were getting things warmed up for a big crowd favorite…Spongebob Squarepants and his flock of pirates led by the menacing pirate queen, Whoopi Goldberg. Another special treat was the Saratoga HS Marching Band from California leading the way in for a new balloon entry, Papa Smurf. There must have been a thousand Spirit of America dancers marching their way down to Herald Square to perform for the over 50 million people watching worldwide. Brian Donnelly’s  Companion balloon came in for the quick nap until the NYPD Marching Band woke up the sleepy crowd and then Flo Rida got the crowd cheering again. The Diary of Wimpy Kid balloon was a crowd favorite but a surprising entry were the strutting businessmen.  They seemed a little out of place but did put on a good show.  The Great American Band got everybody going with more holiday music while Sailor Mickey got lots of cheers from the kids.

Tragedy did not escape the parade this year as an entertaining clown, Robert Blasetti from Yonkers, suffered a cardiac arrest while on the parade route. He was there with his wife Irene.  He was entertaining some kids in the crowd when I snapped his picture minutes before he fell and was treated by EMS and rushed to a local hospital. In that blink of an eyelash of time, I could tell he liked to make people laugh and feel good. He will certainly be missed by those who loved and knew him.

In his second appearance in the grand parade was Sonic the Hedgehog followed by the Wyoming All Star Marching Band. Serving as inspiration of what can be achieved with hard work and perseverance were the US Woman’s Gymnastics Team “The Fierce Five”.  The first of many elves and Santa’s helpers made their way down the parade route getting the crowd ready for the Big Guy himself. Mixed in there was a really incredible sounding band from Oak Ridge HS Marching Band  in Texas.  The last of the new floats arrived as the Elf on a Shelf came in with plenty of candy cane  dressed stilt walkers. Everyone’s favorite Buzz Lightyear balloon got the crowd screaming to “Infinity and Beyond”, while the cute Virginia novelty balloon holding a letter addressed to the North Pole let everyone know that the big moment was soon approaching. When the Holiday Elves novelty balloons appeared everyone knew Santa Claus was right behind them and the crowd just went nuts with cheer as they knew the holiday season was right upon us.

The parade season for 2012 came to a close with the best parade of them all. To see children from 3 to 93 watch in amazement at all the large balloons, clowns, marching bands and celebrities was in itself a thrill and a reminder of the spirit of the holiday season and of mankind.  As the over 3 million parade viewers started their journey home or another destination to celebrate Thanksgiving, I couldn’t help but think of all the parades I had seen this year.  Thank you Rachel Cauvin for taking some great pictures and helping to capture a fun part of New York for  the world to see. Thank you parade organizers and sponsors for helping to preserve our freedom, independence, and creative spirit. Thank you marchers and band members for all your hours of practice and preparation in making the parades turn out to be fun to watch. Thank you for reading the articles and watching the videos and helping to be part this blogs goal …to celebrate life.


Thank you,

Albert Terc

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