Thanksgiving parade balloons have long history
The parade has to be a multigenerational crowd-pleaser for the more than 3 million people who typically attend the event and the TV audience of 50 million. There are 86 years of history to honor while making a pitch to first-time fans.
For many families, the parade characters are like the cousins that float around grandma's house: They're familiar, but not everyone at the table knows the backstory.
Giant balloons this year, for example, will add Papa Smurf and the Elf on a Shelf, while Buzz Lightyear, Sailor Mickey Mouse and the Pillsbury Doughboy keep their place in the lineup. A new version of Hello Kitty is also to be included.
There have been six versions of Snoopy for a total of 36 parade appearances over the years, making him the most frequent participant. He's sitting out this year so his buddy Charlie Brown can have another turn.
The Muppet Kermit is the longest balloon at 78 feet, and Paul Frank's Julius sock money has the widest smile, measuring 19 feet. This year's Kermit is the one that debuted in 2002, although there was another version born in the 1960s.
Critical thinking challenge: Why must the balloon characters appeal to more than one generation?
Define these words: debuted, backstory
- Posted on November 20, 2012
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