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Winds and record low temperatures raised concerns.
for the balloons and the show floats at the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, but the show continued.
USA TODAY

The annual Macy's Thanksgiving Parade held its annual walk through the heart of Manhattan on Thursday, despite record temperatures and near-hazard winds for the Charlie Brown and SpongeBob balloons.

Hundreds of thousands of spectators, some of whom arrived hours earlier, huddled under the blankets and behind the railings as eye-catching floats, balloons and protesters advanced 46 blocks from the west side of Central Park to Macy's flagship store in the center of Manhattan. .

The parade, which began in 1924 to promote the venerable department store, featured some 8,000 protesters, including high school bands from across the country, and two dozen floats that set the stage for the arrival of Santa Claus.

Diana Ross, John Legend, Martina McBride and the Muppets from "Sesame Street" showed up, despite the extreme cold weather alert for artists and spectators alike.

A notice from New York City urged anyone to go out and wear hats, scarves, gloves and clothes with capes, and to keep their fingertips, ear lobes and nose covered to prevent freezing.

The temperature dropped to 19 degrees at 11 a.m. EST, breaking the previous record for the event of 21 degrees, marked in 1930, 1938 and 1972.

Plus: First look: new balloons arriving at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

The low temperature this morning in Central Park tied on November 28, 1901 and November 30, 1876 for the second lowest cold temperature for Thanksgiving. The coldest minimum, 15 °, occurred on November 30, 1871, according to the National Meteorological Service of New York.

The critical factor for the parade, however, is not the cold but the wind. With 16 balloons full of helium of animated characters floating at the end of long cables on the route of the parade, the wind can quickly turn a parade into a danger zone.

In 2013, the giant balloon "M & M's Chocolate Candies" got caught in a streetlight in Times Square, knocking down part of the top. Two sisters were hit by the falling debris, and one of them required stitches.

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The balloons are grounded if the winds are stronger than 23 mph and wind gusts above 34 mph. Less than two hours before the parade, the winds had a speed of 15 to 20 mph with gusts of 30 mph.

If conditions worsen, the police said they are ready to order the balloons at a lower altitude or wash them completely.

In fact, some of the balloons seemed to be closer to the ground than in previous years, rising only a few feet above those holding their bonds. The outstretched hand of the balloon of the "Diary of a little boy" seemed to hit some of its manipulators on their heads covered with woolen hats.

Putting temperatures aside, police commissioner James O'Neill said thousands of officers will be stationed along the parade route to monitor other possible problems. Counter-terrorism teams with long weapons are available, with plainclothes officers mixed with the crowd.

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A new squad of K-9 teams that can detect explosives a few hundred feet away will also be watching the scene.

On the entertainment front, the parade also features Bad Bunny, Kane Brown and Ella Mai, Pentatonix, Rita Ora, Sugarland, Anika Noni Rose, Barenaked Ladies, Leona Lewis, Fifth Harmony Ally Brooke, Bazzi, Ashley Tisdale and Carly Pearce .

Contributing: Associated Press

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