The happy announcement went out minutes before the start of the 93rd Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade: the balloons, they would fly

Well, kind of. More like dragged? Whatever, even flying at their “lowest possible matrix," these enormous helium beasts sent their handlers scrambling at every corner, as crews struggled to tame their charges caught in the gusts whipping through the cross streets. There were a few balloon semi-casualties, partial deflations and the like (the Ronald McDonald balloon got a tear and one of his legs deflated, and it never made it to Herald Square; the new Yayoi Kusama didn't make it either), but for the most part it appears that most of the big characters made it home safe.     

The huge crowds loved it, shouting out “whooooaaaaoooaaa” at each dramatic turn. And the warm, sunny morning ensured that even those who had staked out a spot on the sidewalk at 3:30 a.m. were plenty comfortable, and ready to party.

The giant cartoon balloons are clearly the main attraction here, but there was a lot more for people to cheer and goof on along the 2.5 mile route. Massive marching bands and cheer squads came in from all over the country. There were more clowns than you would have thought existed in all of the world. And there were celebrities perched upon corporate-sponsored floats including Roots, Billy Porter, Ashanti, NCT 127, and Chicago the band.

And now to feast. Happy Thanksgiving!