For the first time, Australian children’s television favorite Bluey has helped Americans usher in the holiday season at New York’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Throngs of spectators lined the streets of Manhattan on Thursday for the annual tradition, which dates back nearly a century.
The crowds packed the streets as a procession of giant inflatables and floats stretched for more than 40 blocks from Central Park to Herald Square.
Children balanced atop metal barricades and hung from scaffolding to watch the balloons amid mostly sunny skies and a slight breeze.
And for the first time, Australia’s favorite cattle dog joined the party.
Bluey’s balloon towered as tall as a four-storey building and stretched as wide as seven taxi cabs.
“Blue, Blue. There’s Blue,” shouted a slightly confused Divyam Kumar, who had mistaken Bluey for the star of the animated show Blue’s Clues.
His confusion was understandable, given the similarities between the characters and the fact that he is six years old.
‘Have they never seen Bluey?’
However, fans watching a broadcast of the parade were less forgiving when hosts repeatedly described Bluey as a male dog, with social media awash with corrections.
One broadcaster, though, did earn praise for doing his research.
700 clowns and one Santa
The parade featured 16 giant balloons, 28 floats, 40 novelty and heritage inflatables, 12 marching bands, 10 performance groups, 700 clowns and one Santa Claus.
Besides Bluey, other new balloons joining the line-up included Stuart the one-eyed Minion from Despicable Me 2, a new green dinosaur, an apatosaurus, and a new Diary of a Wimpy Kid balloon.
Among the classics that thrilled the crowd were Snoopy dressed as an astronaut and old-time favorite Papa Smurf.
Not all about the balloons
The blow-up characters were joined by singer Paula Abdul in her first parade appearance, indie pop band Fitz and the Tantrums, boy band Big Time Rush, Blue’s Clues & You! host Josh Dela Cruz, singer Gloria Estefan, gospel singer Kirk Franklin, actor Mario Lopez, reggae star Ziggy Marley, and Miss America 2022 Emma Broyles.
Singers Joss Stone, Jordin Sparks and Betty Who were also part of the festivities, as were the stars of Peacock’s Pitch Perfect: Bumper in Berlin — Adam Devine, Sarah Hyland and Flula Borg. Jimmy Fallon and The Roots were on a float celebrating Central Park.
US President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden called into the parade, as they did last year.
Mr. Biden thanked firefighters, police officers and first responders, saying: “They never take a break.”
While Bluey’s debut was a nod to the future, many onlookers took a moment to remember the balloons that had fallen while in the line of duty during the parade’s history.