Windy weather could sideline Philly Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons

    The windy weather expected Thursday could mean a big change to Philadelphia’s annual Thanksgiving Day Parade. If gusts are too strong, the event’s oversized balloons won’t fly as high or be used at all.

    “The safety of our spectators and our volunteers is paramount and we won’t take any chances,” said Mike Monsell, vice president of creative services at 6ABC, which organizes the event. “We do have a threshold for which we will not utilize the balloons.

    Monsell said parade organizers will decide at 3 a.m. Thursday whether the parade’s 14 balloons will float up and down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

    The forecast could also keep some spectators home. It’s expected to be below freezing when the parade kicks off at 9 a.m. and it won’t get much warmer.

    “The spectator levels vary, obviously, with the weather. We estimate upward of half a million people will watch the parade in some years. We suspect the cold temperatures and the wind tomorrow will probably knock that number down,” said Monsell.

    The parade starts on JFK Boulevard before making its way to Eakins Oval by the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It wraps up at noon.

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