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High winds prove no match for Spider-Man

Balloons fly low, delight the crowd

  • Balloon handlers wait before the 87th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

    Balloon handlers wait before the 87th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

  • This image released by Ford Motor Company shows former Detroit Tigers baseball manager Jim Leyland riding in a Ford Mustang as he fulfills the duty of Grand Marshall at the the 87th America’s Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit on Nov. 28, 2013.  Leyland became manager of the American League club in 2005 and announced he was stepping down after the Tigers' 2013 season ended. During his time as manager, the Tigers made it to the World Series twice; in 2006 where they were defeated by the St. Louis Cardinals and in 2012 where they were defeated by the San Francisco Giants. (AP Photo/Ford Morot Company, Sam VarnHagen)

    This image released by Ford Motor Company shows former Detroit Tigers baseball manager Jim Leyland riding in a Ford Mustang as he fulfills the duty of Grand Marshall at the the 87th America’s Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit on Nov. 28, 2013. Leyland became manager of the American League club in 2005 and announced he was stepping down after the Tigers' 2013 season ended. During his time as manager, the Tigers made it to the World Series twice; in 2006 where they were defeated by the St. Louis Cardinals and in 2012 where they were defeated by the San Francisco Giants. (AP Photo/Ford Morot Company, Sam VarnHagen)

  • The Spiderman balloon makes it way across New York's Central Park South during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Thursday Nov. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)

    The Spiderman balloon makes it way across New York's Central Park South during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Thursday Nov. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)

  • The Papa Smurf balloon, left, passes a partially deflated dreidel balloon, right, as it is tended to along the parade route during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)

    The Papa Smurf balloon, left, passes a partially deflated dreidel balloon, right, as it is tended to along the parade route during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)

  • The Wizard of Oz balloon makes it way through New York's Columbus Circle during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Thursday Nov. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)

    The Wizard of Oz balloon makes it way through New York's Columbus Circle during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Thursday Nov. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)

  • The Sonic the Hedgehog balloon makes it way down New York's Central Park west during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)

    The Sonic the Hedgehog balloon makes it way down New York's Central Park west during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)

  • A spectator waves to Santa Claus during the 87th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, in New York. After fears the balloons could be grounded if sustained winds exceeded 23 mph, Snoopy, Spider-Man and the rest of the iconic balloons received the all-clear from the New York Police Department to fly between Manhattan skyscrapers on Thursday. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

    A spectator waves to Santa Claus during the 87th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, in New York. After fears the balloons could be grounded if sustained winds exceeded 23 mph, Snoopy, Spider-Man and the rest of the iconic balloons received the all-clear from the New York Police Department to fly between Manhattan skyscrapers on Thursday. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

  • Parade participants dressed as candy canes wave to the crowd as they make their way down New York's Central Park West during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)

    Parade participants dressed as candy canes wave to the crowd as they make their way down New York's Central Park West during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)

  • Spirit of America cheerleaders make their way along New York's Central Park South during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)

    Spirit of America cheerleaders make their way along New York's Central Park South during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)

  • A performer on the Cirque du Soleil float cheers after firing confetti into the crowd on 6th Avenue during the 87th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, in New York. After fears the balloons could be grounded if sustained winds exceeded 23 mph, Snoopy, Spider-Man and the rest of the iconic balloons received the all-clear from the New York Police Department to fly between Manhattan skyscrapers on Thursday. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

    A performer on the Cirque du Soleil float cheers after firing confetti into the crowd on 6th Avenue during the 87th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, in New York. After fears the balloons could be grounded if sustained winds exceeded 23 mph, Snoopy, Spider-Man and the rest of the iconic balloons received the all-clear from the New York Police Department to fly between Manhattan skyscrapers on Thursday. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

  • A police officer stands on 6th Avenue as a giant fireman balloon passes during the 87th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, in New York. After fears the balloons could be grounded if sustained winds exceeded 23 mph, Snoopy, Spider-Man and the rest of the iconic balloons received the all-clear from the New York Police Department to fly between Manhattan skyscrapers on Thursday. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

    A police officer stands on 6th Avenue as a giant fireman balloon passes during the 87th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, in New York. After fears the balloons could be grounded if sustained winds exceeded 23 mph, Snoopy, Spider-Man and the rest of the iconic balloons received the all-clear from the New York Police Department to fly between Manhattan skyscrapers on Thursday. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

  • A giant Uncle Sam balloon is marched down 6th Avenue during the 87th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, in New York. After fears the balloons could be grounded if sustained winds exceeded 23 mph, Snoopy, Spider-Man and the rest of the iconic balloons received the all-clear from the New York Police Department to fly between Manhattan skyscrapers on Thursday. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

    A giant Uncle Sam balloon is marched down 6th Avenue during the 87th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, in New York. After fears the balloons could be grounded if sustained winds exceeded 23 mph, Snoopy, Spider-Man and the rest of the iconic balloons received the all-clear from the New York Police Department to fly between Manhattan skyscrapers on Thursday. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

  • Santa Claus waves to the crowd during the 87th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, in New York. After fears the balloons could be grounded if sustained winds exceeded 23 mph, Snoopy, Spider-Man and the rest of the iconic balloons received the all-clear from the New York Police Department to fly between Manhattan skyscrapers on Thursday. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

    Santa Claus waves to the crowd during the 87th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, in New York. After fears the balloons could be grounded if sustained winds exceeded 23 mph, Snoopy, Spider-Man and the rest of the iconic balloons received the all-clear from the New York Police Department to fly between Manhattan skyscrapers on Thursday. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

  • People look out of a window of a building as the Elf in a Shelf balloon flies by during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

    People look out of a window of a building as the Elf in a Shelf balloon flies by during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

  • Logan Berg, 5, of Mount Olive, New Jersey, foreground, reacts as he and others watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade as it makes it's way down New York's Central Park West, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)

    Logan Berg, 5, of Mount Olive, New Jersey, foreground, reacts as he and others watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade as it makes it's way down New York's Central Park West, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)

  • Balloon handlers wait for protective netting to be removed from a giant Sonic the Hedgehog balloon before the 87th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, in New York. After fears the balloons could be grounded if sustained winds exceeded 23 mph, Snoopy, Spider-Man and the rest of the iconic balloons received the all-clear from the New York Police Department to fly between Manhattan skyscrapers on Thursday. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

    Balloon handlers wait for protective netting to be removed from a giant Sonic the Hedgehog balloon before the 87th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, in New York. After fears the balloons could be grounded if sustained winds exceeded 23 mph, Snoopy, Spider-Man and the rest of the iconic balloons received the all-clear from the New York Police Department to fly between Manhattan skyscrapers on Thursday. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

  • The Spiderman balloon makes it way across New York's Central Park South during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Thursday Nov. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)

    The Spiderman balloon makes it way across New York's Central Park South during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Thursday Nov. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)

  • Balloon handlers wait before the 87th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
  • This image released by Ford Motor Company shows former Detroit Tigers baseball manager Jim Leyland riding in a Ford Mustang as he fulfills the duty of Grand Marshall at the the 87th America’s Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit on Nov. 28, 2013.  Leyland became manager of the American League club in 2005 and announced he was stepping down after the Tigers' 2013 season ended. During his time as manager, the Tigers made it to the World Series twice; in 2006 where they were defeated by the St. Louis Cardinals and in 2012 where they were defeated by the San Francisco Giants. (AP Photo/Ford Morot Company, Sam VarnHagen)
  • The Spiderman balloon makes it way across New York's Central Park South during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Thursday Nov. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)
  • The Papa Smurf balloon, left, passes a partially deflated dreidel balloon, right, as it is tended to along the parade route during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)
  • The Wizard of Oz balloon makes it way through New York's Columbus Circle during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Thursday Nov. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)
  • The Sonic the Hedgehog balloon makes it way down New York's Central Park west during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)
  • A spectator waves to Santa Claus during the 87th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, in New York. After fears the balloons could be grounded if sustained winds exceeded 23 mph, Snoopy, Spider-Man and the rest of the iconic balloons received the all-clear from the New York Police Department to fly between Manhattan skyscrapers on Thursday. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
  • Parade participants dressed as candy canes wave to the crowd as they make their way down New York's Central Park West during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)
  • Spirit of America cheerleaders make their way along New York's Central Park South during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)
  • A performer on the Cirque du Soleil float cheers after firing confetti into the crowd on 6th Avenue during the 87th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, in New York. After fears the balloons could be grounded if sustained winds exceeded 23 mph, Snoopy, Spider-Man and the rest of the iconic balloons received the all-clear from the New York Police Department to fly between Manhattan skyscrapers on Thursday. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
  • A police officer stands on 6th Avenue as a giant fireman balloon passes during the 87th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, in New York. After fears the balloons could be grounded if sustained winds exceeded 23 mph, Snoopy, Spider-Man and the rest of the iconic balloons received the all-clear from the New York Police Department to fly between Manhattan skyscrapers on Thursday. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
  • A giant Uncle Sam balloon is marched down 6th Avenue during the 87th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, in New York. After fears the balloons could be grounded if sustained winds exceeded 23 mph, Snoopy, Spider-Man and the rest of the iconic balloons received the all-clear from the New York Police Department to fly between Manhattan skyscrapers on Thursday. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
  • Santa Claus waves to the crowd during the 87th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, in New York. After fears the balloons could be grounded if sustained winds exceeded 23 mph, Snoopy, Spider-Man and the rest of the iconic balloons received the all-clear from the New York Police Department to fly between Manhattan skyscrapers on Thursday. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
  • People look out of a window of a building as the Elf in a Shelf balloon flies by during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, in New York. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
  • Logan Berg, 5, of Mount Olive, New Jersey, foreground, reacts as he and others watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade as it makes it's way down New York's Central Park West, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)
  • Balloon handlers wait for protective netting to be removed from a giant Sonic the Hedgehog balloon before the 87th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, in New York. After fears the balloons could be grounded if sustained winds exceeded 23 mph, Snoopy, Spider-Man and the rest of the iconic balloons received the all-clear from the New York Police Department to fly between Manhattan skyscrapers on Thursday. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
  • The Spiderman balloon makes it way across New York's Central Park South during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Thursday Nov. 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)

Revelers at this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade gave thanks for the giant balloons that flew above the city streets yesterday after a blustery storm accompanied by high winds nearly grounded them for only the second time in the parade’s 87-year history.

“The balloons are the best part,” 11-year-old Matthew Ragbe said as he watched them leave their launch pads on 77th Street and turn the corner to face the crowds of parade-goers, many of whom waited hours to secure a good viewing spot.

Across the country, millions of Americans celebrated their blessings, gobbled up turkey and pumpkin pie and prepared to kick off the official start to the Christmas shopping season. In Detroit, former Tigers manager Jim Leyland served as grand marshal of the city’s parade, while Philadelphia celebrations were subdued slightly by gusting winds that limited the use of balloons.

In New York City, tens of thousands of people lining the parade route were not disheartened by freezing temperatures or the drama over whether Spider-Man, Julius, Snoopy and SpongeBob SquarePants would make their scheduled appearances along with a dozen other puffed-up sky-bound creatures.

“We thought they’d find a way to pull it off,” said parade-goer John Mispagel of San Jose, Calif. “It’s really fun seeing so many people having such a great time.”

Dozens of balloon handlers kept a tight grip on their inflated characters, keeping them close to the ground to fight winds that reached the mid-20 mph range.

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