The 85th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in Photos

From the balloons to the performances, check out some of the highlights from the 85th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

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From the balloons to the performances, check out some of the highlights from the 85th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Paul Frank's Julius joined the giant balloon lineup for the first time this year.
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Sonic The Hedgehog returned to the big show after its pioneering debut in 1993 as the procession’s first-ever video game character. Before a new balloon joins the famed parade line-up, the new recruits must undergo their official outdoor test flight.
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Tim Burton's Boy B also made an inaugural appearances in front of millions. Firmly rooted in Mr. Burton’s unique aesthetic, B is a boy who dreams of flight. The scars mark his stitched-together birth.
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Mary J. Blige hyped up the crowd with her performance of her new single 25/8. Here she waves to the crowd from the big apple float.
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American Idol champion Scotty McCreery managed to keep smiling t after he missed his cue to sing while riding atop the Home Baked Goodness float.
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It wouldn't be a Thanksgiving Day Parade without a turkey.
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Christopher Poll, a member of the New York City Police Department Auxiliary Police, keeps watch as the Kermit the Frog balloon makes its way down New York's Sixth Avenue.
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Anna Hogrefe, 8, from Cleveland, Ohio, right, and Kaitlin Yost, 4, of Auburn, Alabama, second from right, look up at a balloon as they and others watch the parade move across New York's 42nd Street.
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Olympic Figure Skater Johnny Weir waved to the crowds as he rode a horse in the parade.
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Clumsy Smurf conquers the Big Apple.
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Avril Lavigne was all bundled up after performing 'Wish You Were Here.' This was her first time performing in a parade.
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Eleven marching bands from Hawaii to Homewood, Ala., prepared for the parade for months. The Hawaii All State Marching Band passes through Columbus Circle as the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade heads downtown.
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One-hundred and fifty high school and university bands submitted applications to a selection committee, which whittled the pool down to 11.
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Sustained winds of 23 mph or gusts of 35 mph could ground the 15 largest balloons in the parade including sailor Mickey, Snoopy, Hello Kitty, Spongebob Squarepants and the eleven other gigantic balloons.
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Cee Lo Green performed his latest song, "Fool For You."
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A crowd as populous as the state of Connecticut lines the 2.65 mile parade route from 77th Street and Central Park West to Macy's in Herald Square. Up to 3.5 million spectators enjoy the show live.
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Snoopy returns to the line-up for his record-breaking 36th parade flight. Snoopy stands at 52-feet high, 25-feet wide and 49.5-feet long and is filled with 15,000 cubic feet of helium.
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Wearing Christmas themed glasses, Renee McClanahan, from Palm Coast, Florida, smiles as she and others watch the 85th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
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Clowns are the only members of the parade who directly interact with spectators. The job is taken so seriously that all clown volunteers are required to take classes from Big Apple Circus pros.
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Ronald McDonald on ice skates!
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NBC broadcasters, parade organizers, artists, city agencies, and volunteers have been working together to make sure the 50 million expected viewers are thoroughly entertained. Here, Cheerleaders from the Homewood High School Patriot Band, in Alabama, march and cheer.
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Spidey, in full crawling mode with one hand set to release his web, floats down the route measuring 78-feet long, 37.8-feet wide and 29.1-feet tall, filled with 11,800 cubic feet of helium.
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On the ground a man dressed in a Spiderman costume gave high-fives to spectators along 42nd Street in Times Square.
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Members of the pop band Cobra Starship ride a float after performing in front of Macy's Herald Square.
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Kung Fu Panda !
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The singing and songwriting legend, Neil Diamond performed his hit "America" on the South Dakota state Float.
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Cheerleaders march through Times Square in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2011. A jetpack-wearing monkey and a freakish creation from filmmaker Tim Burton are two of the big new balloons that will make their inaugural appearances in front of millions of people at this year's parade. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)
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The Aflac Duck makes a debut as a 35-foot tall balloonicle.
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A helium shortage during the 1940s forced organizers to improvise — they filled the biggest balloons with air and suspended them from moving cranes for the parade down Broadway. Here, 'Harold the Fireman' floats through Times Square.
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Clowns arrive at the parade at 6 a.m. to keep the crowd cheerful as they await the start of the show. Expect to see roller skating clowns, sleepy clowns, the "turkey tech football gobblers" and "nutty crackers". There are 800 of them mixed in with the masses.
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Eternal optimist, SpongeBob Square Pants absorbs more than 16,200 cubic feet of helium to fly down the route. Sponge Bob is 62-feet high, 38-feet wide and 28-feet long.
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Dora the Explorer is a crowd favorite.
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Toy Story’s fearless Inter-galactic Space Ranger, Buzzlightyear measures 67.7-feet long, 39.9-feet wide and 34.3-feet tall.
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The 85th annual parade ends the way it always has: With the one-and-only Santa Claus riding into Herald Square and kicking off the holiday season, and all the eating and shopping that comes with it.
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Santa Claus's entourage marches through Times Square.
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Before a new balloon joins the famed parade line-up, the new recruits must undergo their official outdoor test flight.
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Each of the parade's 59 balloons has made the transition from drawing to clay figure to flying object, through collaborations between artists, engineers and an army of volunteer string holders, charged with steering the balloons as they bob down Broadway.
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Each of the parade's 59 balloons has made the transition from drawing to clay figure to flying object, through collaborations between artists, engineers and an army of volunteer string holders, charged with steering the balloons as they bob down Broadway. See here, the Energizer Bunny is inflated .
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Madeline Adams, age three, from New York, watches.
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Volunteers help inflate a Mickey Mouse flotation for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 23, 2011.
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In 1927 parade organizers made the wise call to swap live animals, like lions and tigers, for more kid-friendly balloons.The giant helium balloons have proved to be timeless. See here a group of people walking in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1946.
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