This post was sponsored by Skylanders. We appreciate their support of Jersey Family Fun that allows us to share with families information about new items and events we think families will enjoy.
Skylanders Is Moving Up!
When you think of what balloons you see in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, you think of classic characters such as Snoopy, Superman, Buzz Lightyear and Kermit the Frog. Each year new balloons debut, but not every popular toy gets a balloon in the parade, so the debut of Skylanders Eruptor balloon is a big deal!
Jersey Family Fun was in attendance at the 2014 Balloon Fest – the test run of new balloons for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. We were there specifically to check out the Skylanders balloon, new this year and debuting with, Power Rangers, Pikachu, Paddington Bear, the Pillsbury Doughboy and Thomas the Tank Engine. The Aflac duck had a motorized float/display that was tested out as well.
Held this year at Citifield in Queens, the Balloon Fest is a morning for selected balloon handlers and parade organizers to test these new balloons (older balloons are not in attendance). Local press is in attendance as well. Each balloon takes about 50 handlers, along with a pilot, captain and two anchor vehicles! These volunteers have an important job, and with so many eyes on them on Thanksgiving morning, it’s important that they know their jobs, and how to do them. You can feel the excitement, importance, and tradition in the air in that parking lot, as the balloons wait, inflated but anchored in netting, for their big debuts.
Handlers are given assignments, work gloves, and even do some warm up calisthenics before they are ready to go. The Skylanders Eruptor pilot, Paul Cronin spoke to Jersey Family Fun about his role in the parade. As twenty year parade veteran, Paul assured us that Eruptor was in good hands with the 53 lines and 2 vehicles it takes to get Eruptor the 2 1/2 miles down the parade route. Eruptor has the potential to fly 50 feet in the skyline, but height is dependent on the weather conditions. Paul walks the whole route backwards, guiding the handlers with his whistle and his hands, keeping in communication with NYPD, the anchor vehicle, and balloon central.
Each balloon was released from the netting, then taken around the parking lot for at least two turns. The test run lets the organizers know if the balloons need more handlers, more or less helium, and helps the handlers know what they’re in for! Some balloons had trouble at the turns but Eruptor had a smooth ride. It’s truly thrilling to see these huge balloons go up, and all the work that goes into developing, creating, and flying them. It’s also great to see such a successful and loved brand as Skylanders get their time in the spotlight.
Take a look at our Behind the Scenes with the Skylanders Eruptor Balloon Debuting at the 2014 Macy’s Parade video
Be sure to tune in at 9 AM on November 27, Thanksgiving Day on NBC to see Skylanders Eruptor take to the skies!
For more photos from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloon Fest, see our Facebook album.
For more about Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade see our Tips for Attending the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and our review of the children’s book, Milly and the Macy’s Parade.