New York prepares for the Thanksgiving parade

NEW YORK – Thousands of people lined the streets of New York on Thursday morning to watch the traditional Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which unofficially marks the start of the holiday season.

Weather forecasters predict fairly clear skies and light winds for this nearly 100-year-old parade.

There will be the world-famous cartoon character Australian Shepherd Bluey for the first time in the form of an inflatable structure four stories high and as wide as seven cars. There will also be Stuart, the one-eyed servant.

Snoopy dressed as an astronaut will be back, event officials said, as will Papa Smurf, Ronald McDonald and SpongeBob.

This year’s parade will feature 16 giant balloons, 28 floats, 40 inflatables, 12 marching bands, 10 arts groups, 700 clowns and a single Santa Claus.

Among the artists who will be featured are singers Paula Abdul, Joss Stone, Jordin Sparks, Betty Who and Gloria Estefan; singer Kirk Franklin; bands Fitz and the Tantrums and Big Time Rush; reggae star Ziggy Marley; host Josh Dela Cruz; actor Mario Lopez; and Emma Broyles, Miss America 2022.

Jimmy Fallon & The Roots will ride a float to pay their respects in Central Park.

The parade will be broadcast live on the NBC network.

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