NEW YORK — Crowds of spectators lined the streets of New York on Thursday as brightly colored, soaring balloons helped usher in the holiday season during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The annual tradition, which dates back almost a century, filled the streets as a procession of giant inflatable boats and floats poured more than 40 blocks from Central Park to Herald Square.

Children balanced on metal barricades and hung from scaffolding to watch the balloons amid mostly sunny skies and a light breeze.

Police walk past inflated helium balloons of Baby Shark and Sinclair's Dino before the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Police walk past inflated helium balloons of Baby Shark and Sinclair’s Dino before the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

“Blue, Blue. There’s Blue,” shouted Divyam Kumar, 6, as his father helped him and his 4-year-old brother Aanu Aryan balance on a metal rail.

The youngster was referring to the star of the animated show Blue’s Clues – not to be confused with international cartoon sensation Bluey, an Australian cattle pup making his parade debut.

Bluey’s balloon was as tall as a four-story building and as wide as seven cabs.

A child watches helium balloons being inflated for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

A child watches helium balloons being inflated for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Stuart the one-eyed minion was also there to wow the crowd.

Snoopy, disguised as an astronaut, reappeared, as did Papa Smurf, Ronald McDonald, and SpongeBob.

This year’s parade in numbers: 16 giant balloons, 28 floats, 40 new and historic bouncy castles, 12 marching bands, 10 performance groups, 700 clowns and a Santa Claus.

A man photographs an inflated helium balloon belonging to Stuart the Minion on Wednesday.

A man photographs an inflated helium balloon belonging to Stuart the Minion on Wednesday.
The Boss Baby balloon rides down Sixth Avenue during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The Boss Baby balloon rides down Sixth Avenue during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The procession of characters was joined by singer Paula Abdul in their first parade appearance; indie pop band Fitz and the Tantrums; boy band Big Time Rush; “Blues Notes & You!” host Josh Dela Cruz; singer Gloria Estefan; gospel singer Kirk Franklin; actor Mario Lopez; reggae star Ziggy Marley; and Miss America 2022 Emma Broyles.

Singers Joss Stone, Jordin Sparks and Betty Who will also be part of the celebrations, as will the stars of Peacock’s Pitch Perfect: Bumper in Berlin – Adam Devine, Sarah Hyland and Flula Borg. Jimmy Fallon & The Roots will be on a float to celebrate Central Park.

Like last year, President Biden and Jill Biden called for the parade. Biden thanked firefighters, police officers and first responders, saying, “They never take a break.”

An inflated Ronald McDonald helium balloon is seen Wednesday as the balloon is prepared for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

An inflated Ronald McDonald helium balloon is seen Wednesday as the balloon is prepared for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

They thanked the troops and Biden said he will speak to some today.

When asked about their plans for the day in Nantucket, the Bidens said they would be including family and spending some time on site to thank first responders.

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Cheerleaders from the University of Missouri Marching Band walk down Central Park South during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Cheerleaders from the University of Missouri Marching Band walk down Central Park South during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

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