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Four women are dead and a man critically injured after a mass shooting at a shopping center in Burlington, Washington.

Washington police are hunting for a “Hispanic male” wearing a black T-shirt armed with a rifle who opened fire in the shopping mall near Seattle.

The Cascade Mall and nearby shops have been evacuated and police have asked the public to stay away. The motive for the attack is not clear.

Image source Washington State Patrol

Image source Washington State Patrol

The suspect was seen heading towards the Interstate 5.

Washington State Patrol spokesman Mark Francis said the fatalities had taken place inside Macy’s department store.

Emergency medical teams had entered the shopping mall “to attend to injured” and people were being evacuated to a nearby church, he said.

Mark Francis said the gunman had left the scene before police arrived and was last seen walking towards a highway.

Emergency management officials have told residents to stay inside with their doors locked and avoid the area near the Cascade Mall. Drivers are being urged to keep nearby major roads clear.

The FBI, which is assisting in the investigation, says there is no evidence that further attacks are planned in Washington State.

Burlington is about 65 miles north of Seattle.

October retail sales rose less than expected as car sales fell in the US, stoking fears that consumer spending could hit economic growth in Q4.

According to the Commerce Department, retail sales rose 0.1% in October, after no change in September, and by 1.7% compared with October 2014.

Economists had forecast a rise of 0.3% for October.

There was a surprise 0.5% fall in sales at car dealerships, after a 1.4% increase in September.US retail sales October 2015

Robust car sales have underpinned overall growth in retail sales for the past two years.

The amount US shoppers spent online continued to rise, with online sales 7.1% higher than in October 2014.

However, sales during the run-up to Christmas will prove to be the real test of consumer confidence.

Fears about the level of consumer spending prompted department store chain Macy’s to cut its profit outlook for 2015 by 10% on November 11.

The revision sent Macy’s shares tumbling almost 20% this week.

Rival department store operator Nordstrom also cut its full-year forecast on November 12, resulting in a similar slide in its shares.


Macy’s has cut its profit outlook for 2015 after a drop in sales in Q3.

The department store’s net income for Q3 of 2015 was $118 million, down from $217 million in the same period last year.

Macy’s shares fell 14% following the news.

In a statement, Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren said the company was “disappointed” that the pace of sales did not improve as much as expected.

Sales were hurt in part by the warm weather, which made it harder to sell winter clothing, and a strong dollar, which hurt tourist spending.

“Heading into the fourth quarter, we are shifting our organization into overdrive to focus on sales-driving activities in the holiday shopping season,” said Terry Lundgren.Macy's sales drop 2015

Macy’s now sees full-year earnings coming in at $4.20 to $4.30 per share, compared with an earlier guidance of $4.70 to $4.80.

The company has opened five discounted outlets in the New York area and plans to open a sixth by the end of 2015.

Macy’s, which also owns the department store Bloomingdale’s, plans to open three new discount branches of that store too.

The company said it is also considering discounts at its stores to help move large quantities of inventory.

On a call with investors CFO Karen Hoguet said “we will need to liquidate this inventory in the fourth quarter so that we can maintain the flow of fresh new merchandise.”

Macy’s has been cutting down on the number of standard priced stores that it owns for the last several years. Earlier this year it announced plans to close 35 to 40 stores in the US in early 2016.


Shoppers eager to catch all Black Friday’s best bargains have been able to make an even earlier start to their holiday shopping, as a record number of stores opened on Thanksgiving Day.

Black Friday, the day following the Thanksgiving holiday, is the biggest shopping day of the year in the US.

Retailers offer special deals to tempt shoppers to spend.

Shoppers eager to catch all Black Friday’s best bargains have been able to make an even earlier start to their holiday shopping, as a record number of stores opened on Thanksgiving Day

Shoppers eager to catch all Black Friday’s best bargains have been able to make an even earlier start to their holiday shopping, as a record number of stores opened on Thanksgiving Day

Some stores, including the flagship Macy’s in New York, opened on Thursday evening – traditionally reserved for celebrating – for the first time ever.

Twelve national chains opened their doors on Thanksgiving Day.

Workers’ groups have protested that the trend towards Thanksgiving opening means retail employees can no longer spend the day with their own families.

Thanksgiving Day is always celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November.

Black Friday took over from the last Saturday before Christmas as the biggest shopping day of the year for US consumers in 2001.

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Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons lay on their bellies on the pavement of West 77th Street in Manhattan as they were inflated on Wednesday evening.

Spectators to the inflation of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons streamed by, children in strollers pointing out their favorites, parents pulling tiny parkas closed and shoving little hats down on heads as the wind steadily picked up throughout the afternoon.

New York City officials have been monitoring that wind, wary that strong breezes could mean that Spider-Man will not soar and Woodstock from “Peanuts” may not get his bird’s-eye view.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons may not be flown if the weather creates hazardous conditions

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons may not be flown if the weather creates hazardous conditions

Earlier weather predictions of winds that would exceed NYC’s limit for flying balloons — a rule that kicks in if winds are 23 miles per hour or more and gusts exceed 34 mph. — had been scaled down. New predictions as of 4 p.m. on Wednesday called for Thanksgiving morning winds of 20 mph with gusts of 30 to 35 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

The final decision will be made on Thursday morning by several agencies, based on guidelines that were created after a Cat in the Hat balloon hit a lamppost at 72nd Street and Central Park West in 1997, knocking down part of the pole and injuring four spectators.

Forecasting winds in the city is challenging because of the “canyon effect,” with the tall buildings along the parade route creating a tunnel, said Joe Picca, a meteorologist at the Weather Service.

“Tomorrow before the event we will make a determination,” said James P. Hall, the Police Department’s chief of patrol, on Wednesday afternoon.

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The annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is held every Thanksgiving Day in New York City.

Originally called the Macy’s Christmas Parade, it was first held in 1924 and has been canceled only thrice (1942, 1943, 1944) due to rubber shortages during World War II.

The two and a half mile parade features large balloons of well-known characters alongside floats and marching bands, ending with a float of Santa Claus upon his sleigh, marking the start of the Christmas season.

Interestingly, all performers in the parade, including those appearing through Sesame Workshop and others, must become “employees” of Macy’s.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade was first held in 1924 and has been canceled only thrice due to rubber shortages during World War II

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was first held in 1924 and has been canceled only thrice due to rubber shortages during World War II

Celebrating its 87th anniversary, the 2013 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is the official kick-off of the holiday season. Every year, the Parade is seen by more than 3 million people who line the streets of New York and another 50 million people who tune into NBC to watch the giant balloons, one-of-a-kind floats, the nation’s best marching bands, hundreds of cheering clowns and a host of celebrities.

On Thursday, November 28, 2013 at 9 a.m., the dazzling spectacle begins. Stepping off with its signature giant helium character balloons, fantasy-filled floats, marching bands, performance groups and a gaggle of clowns, America’s Parade is a non-stop pomp and pageantry for spectators young and old.

Stepping off from 77th Street and Central Park West, the Macy’s Parade will march down to Columbus Circle, where it will turn onto Central Park South, before making its way straight down midtown Manhattan on 6th Avenue from 59th to 34th Streets. The Parade concludes with its final turn onto 34th Street in front of Macy’s Herald Square. The Macy’s Parade route offers over two miles of public viewing.

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Almost 500,000 people have signed an online petition requesting that Macy’s ends it association with Donald Trump.

Macy’s, which exclusively sells Donald Trump’s clothing line and fragrance, has also made him central to its just launched Christmas advertising campaign.

The petition at SignOn.org says Macy’s should break with Donald Trump because of his “especially unpleasant, nasty and despicable behavior”.

“Donald Trump does not reflect the <<magic of Macy’s>>. We urge you to sever ties with him,” the petition reads.

Cher is amongst those who has signed the petition. She has called Donald Trump a “loudmouth, racist cretin” over his criticism of Barack Obama.

“I’ll NEVER GO TO MACY’S AGAIN! I didn’t know they sold Donald Trump’s Line!” she wrote on Twitter.

Donald Trump had yet to personally addressed the petition on his Twitter feed, but made a point of tweeting about his Macy’s-stocked clothing line and fragrance.

“My fragrance – <<Success>> – is flying off the shelves @Macys. The perfect Christmas gift!” he wrote.

Yesterday he posted: “Just saw my new line of shirts, ties & suits @Macys – they are fantastic! Would make great holiday presents!”

Macy’s, which exclusively sells Donald Trump’s clothing line and fragrance, has also made him central to its just launched Christmas advertising campaign

Macy’s, which exclusively sells Donald Trump’s clothing line and fragrance, has also made him central to its just launched Christmas advertising campaign

The petition was created by Angelo Carusone, who has previously campaigned against Glenn Beck.

The homepage for the petition cites several examples of Donald Trump’s “despicable behavior”, including his “sexist” comments about women, his denial of climate change and his hypocrisy by manufacturing his own clothes in China but criticizing others for sending jobs abroad.

Donald Trump is also notorious for long promoting the discredited conspiracy theory that President Obama was not born in the United States.

Prior to last week’s presidential election, Donald Trump raised the issue once again and issued an ultimatum to Barack Obama, claiming that he would donate $5 million to charity if the President released his college records and passport application.

On election night itself, Trump tweeted that the final result was “a travesty, a total sham, a disgusting injustice” and “urged Americans to march on Washington”.

Macy’s new holiday ad, which spoofs “Miracle on 34th Street”, makes light of Donald Trump’s support of the so-called “birther” movement.

Assuming the role of the skeptic, Donald Trump yanks on Santa’s beard after asking: “What’s with the get-up, Kris?”

The commercial ends with Santa Claus saying to Donald Trump: “If I can win you over, there’s still hope.”

Donald Trump’s spokesman Michael Cohen has expressed confidence in the strength of his client’s relationship with the retailer.

“Mr. Trump is important to Macy’s, both as a brand and as an endorser. His ties, shirts, cufflinks, fragrances and other merchandise are top-selling items across the country – in particular Mr. Trump’s ties are the number one selling ties at Macy’s,” he told The Daily News.

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On Thursday, November 22nd, America celebrates Thanksgiving, the traditional harvest feast which dates back to 1621.

Check the list below for the best ways to give thanks, whether it’s on a traditional plantation or with giant helium balloons.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, New York City

There is always something going on in the city that never sleeps. But on November 22nd, all eyes turn skyward and the city turns out for one event and one event only.

The Macy’s Parade is not only attended by hundreds of thousands of people but is televised throughout the USA.

Broadway is transformed into a colorful extravaganza as floats and falloons (half-way between a float and a balloon) march together.

Barbie, Mickey Mouse and Big Bird will mingle with Uncle Sam, Santa Claus and Thanksgiving’s own Tom Turkey to parade through Times Square and down the Avenue of the Americas.

Marching bands, the Radio City Rockettes and cast members from Broadway shows will also perform alongside them.

The first notes of the Let’s Have A Parade tune which opens the event, have now come to signal the official beginning of the Christmas season in New York. www.macys.com

Plimoth Plantation, Plymouth, Massachusetts

Although Thanksgiving is now better known as a festival involving giant balloons and music, there is a more authentic way to commemorate America’s forefathers.

For a taste of history and the real meaning of Thanksgiving it is best to head to Massachussetts, the birthplace of the holiday.

At the Plimoth Plantation, visitors can board the Mayflower II, which recreated the original Pilgrims’ journey in the 1950s and now forms part of a special exhibition about the voyage.

Actors dressed as Pilgrims and the indigenous Wampanoag people will guide you through the story of the first Thanksgiving.

Visitors also have the chance to explore a traditional 1627 English village, the crafts centre and, in true Thanksgiving spirit, there are a multitude of different places to eat the traditional turkey dinner.

If you’re travelling with children, this could make a great and interactive day out. www.plimoth.org

National Football League (NFL), Dallas, Texas and Detroit, Michigan

It may not be what the Pilgrims imagined their legacy to be, but one extremely popular way to celebrate Thanksgiving is by watching the classic battles between some of America’s most loved football teams.

It is not unusual for the family to settle down and watch what is referred to as Turkey Bowl as different teams – which normally include the Miami Dolphins, Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys – fight it out.

For visitors to the country, this could be the perfect opportunity to indulge in a truly American pastime and try and learn the rules of a baffling game.

Tickets are still available and are relatively affordable from $45. www.ticketexchangebyticketmaster.com.

McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade, Chicago

If you thought the Macy’s parade was big then prepare yourself for the inflatable extravaganza that takes over Chicago.

One of the city’s most popular events since it started in 1934, the parade regularly pulls in crowds of 400,000.

It was first created as a way to help people feel better during the Great Depression of the 1930s so visitors to the city this Thanksgiving may feel a strange irony given the current economic climate.

Observers and balloon holders on State Street will both be hoping the Windy City does not live up to its name that day.  www.chicagofestivals.org

Macy's Thanksgiving Parade in New York City

Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in New York City

Sales shopping in Orlando, New York and Boston

Like all great celebrations, Thanksgiving would not be a true national holiday without some cut-price bargains to encourage people to part with their cash.

And sales are particularly worthwhile at the outlet stores that are so popular with visitors to the US.

Some of the biggest outlets are Woodbury Common Premium Outlets in New York, Orlando Premium Outlets, Florida and Wrentham Village Premium Outlets in both New York and Boston.

So any shopaholics in these malls over Thanksgiving may well want to take advantage of some serious bargains.

Discounts of between 25 and 65% are offered on designer items in their Midnight Madness sale event (which actually starts at 9:00 p.m.).

The reductions will then go on for the next three days until, stuffed with turkey and shopped out, bargain hunters can survey their hoard before beginning the diet to fit back into them. www.premiumoutlets.com

Turkey bowling, Oregon

Beyond the grand parades and American football, there are actually a lot of smaller Thanksgiving celebrations taking place throughout the country.

Anyone enjoying West Coast hospitality in Oregon may want to head to one of the nation’s quirkier events.

According to these Oregon residents, nothing says Thanksgiving like bowling a Turkey.

In a new take on Turkey Bowl, Hood River offers a train ride out into the state’s most breathtaking scenery where people can enjoy a traditional holiday meal at a rural restaurant before starting on the real festivities.

This competition sees people bowling five, 10 or 20 lb turkeys in the hope of winning a variety of prizes. Taking place over the Thanksgiving weekend and costing $32 for an adult ticket and $20 for children, the day out could really add an interesting twist to the traditional Thanksgiving activities.

Skiing Thanksgiving World Cup, Aspen

Not everyone has the Thanksgiving holidays off – in fact some women will be working very hard in Aspen.

Aspiring skiers can pick up some tips watching the slalom and giant slalom events from the bleachers before heading off to try their ski legs for the first runs of the season. www.aspensnowmass.com

Turkey pardon, Washington and the pardoned turkey’s parade, Disneyland California

If you are in the Washington area and think you have a hope of swinging an invite to the White House, you may want to head there the week before Thanksgiving.

Traditionally the President holds a lighthearted gathering and pardons a turkey which is saved from becoming dinner and sent to live its life in peace.

But if, like the rest of us, it is unlikely you will be calling in at the White House, you can always catch a glimpse of the lucky turkey at Disneyland in California.

After the presidential touch grants turkeys their freedom, they are sent down to take part in the Thanksgiving Disney Parade.

They lead the spectacular parade as grand marshalls, joined by all of the familiar faces we associate with Disney. Once their duties are done, they are free to live out their days in the Frontierland part of the park. Find out more about Disneyland holidays here.

Downtown Portland Macy’s store has decided to forego years of tradition, booting out truly old Saint Nicks who have been posing as Kris Kringle for decades in favor of agency Santas.

The new Father Christmases come from a national vendor instead of the much beloved community Santas, and families who have been coming to get their holiday photos with the same Santas are livid.

The worst part – the agency Santas have costume beards.

Joe Hawes, 54, owns The Portland Santa Company, which outfitted Meier and Frank and Macy’s with authentic, beard-sporting Santas. He says the style the new East coast company does is a “caricature of Santa”.

“We’ve always had naturally bearded Santas who play the role of Santa for year after year. The experience is dramatically different.

“The children come in and identify with an individual rather than a costumed character.”

The two current Santas – Santa Tom and Santa Phil – have been working for the company for seven and twelve years, respectively, and have taken great pride in maintaining their festive personas all year round.

The men groom their white beards, are jolly throughout the year, and pretend to be “on vacation” when they run into youngsters during the summer months.

Families have been bringing their children to Santaland at Macy’s for years and have looked forward to seeing the same jolly and plump face during each Christmas

Families have been bringing their children to Santaland at Macy’s for years and have looked forward to seeing the same jolly and plump face during each Christmas

“I’ve been doing this my whole adult life, so it’s a real personal loss to me not to be involved with Santaland this year,” Joe Hawes told Today.com.

“This year they notified us that, for the sake of corporate uniformity, they’re going to have the Santas look like they do on the East coast – costume-bearded Santas, so every Santa can look the same in every Macy’s store.”

Families have been bringing their children to Santaland at Macy’s for years and have looked forward to seeing the same jolly and plump face during each Christmas.

“We’ve been visiting Santa every year for 18 years,” Portland resident Peggy Friedl-Yee wrote on Santaland’s Facebook page.

“first at Meier & Frank and then at Macy’s. Macy’s this is unbelievable! You have ruined a favourite family tradition. We’ll be seeing Santa at Pioneer Square. Shame on you.”

Nikki DeShane also took to Facebook to complain about the new, fake-bearded St Nicks.

“We have been taking our kids to see this Santa for 14 years, our oldest is 18 and youngest two. We will continue to see our “real” Santa on the bricks.”

Veteran Santas are setting up shop at a rival Santa display a block away from the Macy’s Santaland. The event will start December 14 in nearby Pioneer Square.

Macy’s told Today.com that the new Santaland “has a new look while retaining its holiday traditions”. They also said Santa is attired in “a classic St Nick suit”, but declined to comment on the lack of real facial hair.

Joe Hawes told Today.com that getting a portrait taken with Santa is “such a personal thing”.

Joe Hawes added: “It’s not just a public display that’s inanimate. It’s personal and emotional, especially for young children, and for people who have built this into their annual family traditions, it’s very significant.”

Natalie Johnson, a Macy’s worker at a San Antonio store was fired for refusing to allow a transgender customer to use the women’s fitting room.

Natalie Johnson, 27, admits she was watching the customer from the start, claiming she could tell he was a man shopping for women’s clothes.

When the transgender tried to go into the women’s fitting room, Natalie Johnson stopped him from entering.

The woman told KSAT 12: “I had to just straight forward tell him, <<You’re a man>>, and of course that really got him steamed.”

Macy’s has a policy in place that allows transgendered individuals to use the fitting room of the gender they have chosen.

Natalie Johnson, a Macy’s worker at a San Antonio store was fired for refusing to allow a transgender customer to use the women's fitting room

Natalie Johnson, a Macy’s worker at a San Antonio store was fired for refusing to allow a transgender customer to use the women's fitting room

Natalie Johnson was fired last week after telling her manager that she refused to go along with the policy, citing her devout Christian beliefs.

Natalie Johnson told KSAT 12 that she has filed a complaint with the federal employment commission, saying her views on religion prevent her from recognizing transgendered people.

“There are no transgenders in the world. A guy can dress up as a woman all he wants, that’s still not going to make you a woman,” Natalie Johnson said.

Liberty Council, a conservative Christian organization dedicated to religious freedoms, sided with Natalie Johnson, arguing Macy’s policy should be changed.

Matthew Staver, Liberty Council founder and CEO, said in a statement: “This policy will cause significant problems and will alienate the majority of Macy’s customers.

“Macy’s has essentially opened women’s dressing rooms to every man. The LGBT agenda has become the theater of the absurd.”

Macy’s would not comment on this specific case, but released a statement of their own that said: “At Macy’s, we recognize and appreciate the diversity of our customers and associates.”

The 85th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade took the streets of Manhattan in its spectacular style in front of 3 million spectators who watched the fourteen giant helium balloons, including Buzz Lightyear and SpongeBob SquarePants.

The US biggest singing stars also came to Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 2011 to entertain the crowds, including award-winning singers Cee Lo Green, Mary J.Blige and Neil Diamond.

At a 40 F temperatures, the crowd was entertained by the helium-filled balloons, including Clumsy Smurf, Kermit the Frog – and some newcomers, as Julius The Monkey.

Paul Frank’s sock puppet-inspired monkey Julius made its debut as a 41-foot-tall balloon. The crowds chanted “Jul-i-us! Jul-i-us!” as it passed.

Julius The Monkey was followed by “B”- a spooky character covered in stitches created by filmmaker Tim Burton.

And making their first appearance at Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade were a pair of bike-powered balloons, one featuring a large green elf designed by Queens resident Keith Lapinig, who won a nationwide contest with more than 10,000 entries.

But there were also some much-loved favourites, including video game character Sonic the Hedgehog, who returned after an 18-year absence, and a navel-themed Mickey Mouse.

They were joined by SpongeBob SquarePants, Snoopy, Spiderman and Kermit the Frog.

With a 40-ft Sonic the Hedgehog at its helm, the 85th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade kicked off in spectacular style

With a 40-ft Sonic the Hedgehog at its helm, the 85th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade kicked off in spectacular style

As the balloons, held up by scores of rope-bearers, snaked along the route, crowds were also entertained by the top vocal talents, including Cee Lo Green, Country singer Rodney Atkins and American Idol winner Scotty McCreery.

Canadian singer Avril Lavigne sat on a float featuring a giant fattened turkey as she sang, followed by a musical set from the colourful cast of Sesame Street.

Brass bands from high schools and colleges around the country also marched along the route, such as the Nation Ford High School from South Carolina, which included sixteen sets of siblings.

Macy’s Great American Marching Band, with trombones, tubas and booming drums, led the march.

Ana Santiago, 34, a said receptionist from Park Slope, Brooklyn said:

“The parade makes you enjoy life.”

“You see the kids cheering and celebrating, and that makes the day.”

“It’s a tradition,” Ana Santiago added.

“New Yorkers should take advantage of it. You never know what you’ll see.”

The parade followed high-energy performances from glitzy cheerleaders and characters from Broadway show How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, including Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe.

In total, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade boasted more than 40 smaller balloons, 27 floats, 800 clowns and 1,600 cheerleaders as an estimated 50 million people watched the television coverage from home.

Floats included a mini version of Mount Rushmore from the South Dakota Department of Tourism. The grey granite structure also featured Black Hills National Forest and Badlands National Park in an effort to drive more visitors to the state.

Grammy winner Neil Diamond performed on the float as it moved through the streets.

The crowd on Seventh Avenue started singing “Sweet Caroline! Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!” as the singer waved.

Ronald McDonald, joined by scores of waving children, drove a large red shoe float. It pulled along a giant helium float of the food chain’s grinning ambassador.

Another float featured popular cartoon character Dora the Explorer alongside children dressed as Christmas presents. Olympian ice skater Johnny Weir waved to the crowds as he rode on a white horse float.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 2011 started at 77th Street and headed south on Central Park West to Seventh Avenue, before moving to Sixth Avenue and ending at Macy’s Herald Square.

Despite fears that stormy weather would batter the balloons, the balloons floated under blue skies.

Joe Sullivan, a balloon handler, who has been volunteering at the parade for more than 15 years, held a line securing a huge floating pumpkin.

“When it’s windy it’s a struggle,” Joe Sullivan said.

“But today is great weather. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Thousands of children flocked to the event, which closed with Santa Claus riding on a sleigh float and waving to the spectators.

“We’ve been up since two o’clock in the morning,” said Jodi Caplan, 40, of Westtown, in upstate Orange County, who brought her two kids to witness the festivities.

“It’s their first parade. This is the perfect day – perfect weather.”

The giant balloons were created at Macy’s Parade Studio, and each undergoes testing for flight patterns, aerodynamics, buoyancy and lift.

The helium heavies were inflated on Wednesday across the street from the western side of Central Park.

Thousands of people, many families with children in tow, were drawn to the spectacle of the balloons lying as if asleep on the streets, held down by weighted nets.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade got its start in 1924 and included live animals such as camels, goats and elephants. It was not until 1927 that the live animals were replaced by giant helium balloons. The parade was suspended from 1942 to 1944 because rubber and helium were needed for World War II.

Since the beginning, the balloons have been based on popular cultural characters and holiday themes.

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