Monday 26 February 2018

Thousands enjoy Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade amid tight security

People walk along Central Park West at the start of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York (AP)
People walk along Central Park West at the start of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York (AP)

Thousands of people lined the streets of New York City for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade involving inflatable balloons and costumed characters.

Officials deployed bomb-sniffing dogs and portable radiation detectors at the event amid tight security.

Revellers cheered and yelled "Thank you!" to officers along the parade route, giving special attention to the New York Police Department (NYPD) marching band.

Spectators - sometimes standing 10 deep - held signs and balloons as they watched Santa Claus and his reindeer, Ronald McDonald and SpongeBob SquarePants pass by.

Charlie Brown led the signature balloons as the parade kicked off with a ceremonial ribbon-cutting before the parade made its way down to Macy's flagship store on 34th Street.

Clowns carrying bundles of balloons rode down the parade route as marching bands from across the country entertained revellers.

Costumed characters and dozens of celebrities, including singers Tony Bennett and Sarah McLachlan and Olympic gold medallist Laurie Hernandez, were among the attendees.

Annie Quinn travelled more than three hours from Albany to attend the parade with her cousin and two sisters, securing prime front-row seats along the route.

"We sat here for hours but it was worth it," she said. "This was the best parade I've seen in a while."

Amid the fun, high-fives and cheers, there was an air of uncertainty about the possibility of an extremist attack after a recent posting in an English-language Islamic State group magazine that called the parade "an excellent target".

Nevertheless, the parade went off without a hitch.

More than 80 sanitation trucks filled with sand were parked at junctions and other places, acting as barriers against any kind of attack.

The NYPD said the sanitation trucks, which they have used before, would play a bigger role at this year's parade in the wake of the cargo truck attack in Nice, France, that killed more than 80 people.

In addition to more than 3,000 uniformed and plain-clothes officers, bomb-sniffing dogs and officers with assault weapons and portable radiation detectors walked among the crowds.


Press Association

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