could ground Macy's parade balloons in NYC
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[November 27, 2013]
NEW YORK (AP) — A storm bearing down
on the East Coast with a messy mix of snow, rain and wind is threatening
to ground giant balloon versions of Snoopy and SpongeBob SquarePants in
the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
The iconic characters that soar between the Manhattan skyscrapers
every year may not lift off Thursday if sustained winds exceed 23
mph and gusts exceed 34 mph, according to city rules enacted after
fierce winds in 1997 caused a Cat in the Hat balloon to topple a
light pole and seriously injure a woman spectator.
Current forecasts call for sustained winds of 20 mph and gusts of 36
"At this time, it is too early to make any determinations on the
flight of the giant balloons," said Macy's spokesman Orlando Veras.
"On Thanksgiving morning, Macy's works closely with the NYPD, who,
based on real time weather data and the official regulations,
determine if the balloons will fly and at what heights."
Balloons have only been grounded once in the parade's 87-year
history, when bad weather kept them from flying in 1971. They're set
to be inflated in Manhattan on Wednesday evening.
The parade was awash in animal-related protests over its floats,
with controversies involving the unlikely pairing of rocker Joan
Jett and Shamu the killer whale.
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Activists planned to line the parade route to protest a SeaWorld
float over accusations in a new documentary that the theme parks
treat whales badly. And ranchers succeeded in getting Jett pulled
off the South Dakota tourism float after they questioned why the
vegetarian and animal-rights ally was representing their beef-loving
SeaWorld says the accusations have "absolutely no basis" and that
"the men and women who care for these animals at SeaWorld are
dedicated in every respect to their health and well-being."
Macy's said the parade does not engage in social commentary or
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