Before the giant balloons of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade float down Sixth Avenue tomorrow morning, they get into shape this afternoon. Flanking the American Museum of Natural History on 77th and 81st Streets, the sixteen balloons featured in this year’s 93rd annual parade are set up in rows and inflated by teams of crew members. Check out our photos from the inflation, and if you want a sneak peek for yourself, head to the public viewing areas this evening before 8:00PM!

This year 16 character balloons will be walked along the parade route along with 40 heritage/novelty/ornament balloons, balloonicles (Macy’s hybrid balloon and vehicle), balloonheads and trycaloons (Macy’s hybrid tandem bicycle and balloon). New character balloons this year include Peanut’s Astronaut Snoopy, Netflix’s Green Eggs
and Ham, Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob SquarePants & Gary, Smokey Bear, and Yayoi Kusama’s Love Flies Up to the Sky, the newest entry into the Parade’s Blue Sky Gallery series of balloons by renowned contemporary artists.

The new astronaut Snoopy balloon

At the inflation, we ran into Macy’s Balloon Technician Alan Gallagher, aka Moose, who was holding a 3D printed model of the Kusama balloon which was about to be inflated right in front of us. The 3D models are used to make the pattern for the full size balloon. Each balloon is made up of several different pieces and chambers.

A balloon technician holds a mini 3D printed model of Yayoi Kusama’s Love Flies Up to the Sky

A new balloon designed by artist Yayoi Kusama, Love Flies Up to the Sky, partially inflate

Each balloon is labeled with a wooden board that shows what the balloon is on the public facing side, and how to blow it up on the crew side. First, the balloons are taken out of their storage crates and rolled out. Then, a row of workers lay a net over the ballon’s form. Next, the fun part. Helium from large trucks is pumped into each chamber of the balloon as it comes to life. After the balloons are inflated, they are tethered with sandbags and anchored to Toro® Workman® vehicles in preparation for the big day.

An instruction board for the Power Ranger balloon at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Workers lay a net over the un-inflated form of a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Workers attach an air hose to one of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons

Crew workers weigh down the Olaf balloon ahead of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Members of the public can see the balloons until 8:00PM this evening. All spectators will 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. The 93rd Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will take place on Thursday, November 28, 2019, from 9 AM to Noon ET. Take a spot along the 2.5 miles of public viewing along the route and watch more than 8,000 Parade participants set off down the streets of Manhattan or join a nationwide television audience of over 50 million viewers and watch the Parade on NBC.

A dinosaur balloon goes on a test run down Central Park West

Next, check out Top 10 Balloon Mishaps at Macy’s NYC Thanksgiving Day Parade and 10 Fun Facts About The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloons in NYC