While watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade, whether in person or on TV, you must have wondered about all the behind-the-scenes work needed to pull off the massive event.
Well, you can actually get a sneak peek of all that work at the annual “Balloon Inflation” event that takes place the day before the parade. There you can watch up-close as ginormous balloons are filled with helium and grow exponentially in size.
The process takes place right outside Manhattan’s Museum of Natural History from 1–8 pm on Wednesday, November 27, 2019. As the balloons are inflated they snake around the museum, beginning at the public entrance on 74th Street and Columbus Avenue. You’ll have to go through a security checkpoint and then enter the inflation area at 74th Street and Central Park West; and exit at 81st Street and Central Park West.
Some of this year’s balloons that you can watch being blown up include: Astronaut Snoopy (it’s his 40th flight in the parade — more than any other balloon!), SpongeBob SquarePants & Gary, The Elf on the Shelf, Pikachu, the Pillsbury Doughboy and Yayoi Kusama’s “Love Flies Up To The Sky.”
And don’t worry about them floating away early — nets and sandbags are used to hold them down!
Some tips: between 1 and 3pm is the least crowded time to visit, but not as many balloons are blown up. If you go later in the evening, there will be a lot more people, but more fully inflated balloons to see. So, your choice — more people or more balloons! You can fine more info on the Macy’s website here.
And instead of braving the parade outside the next day, why not watch from a comfortable building with incredible views? Enjoy breakfast and an unobstructed view of the Sixth Ave parade route with this special viewing and breakfast event.
See also: some of the other best Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving Eve plans in NYC.
Featured image: Instagram / @tokuyk