The mayor of New York City just gave the following order: Astronaut Snoopy has been cleared for takeoff.
City officials made the call Thursday morning to allow giant balloons of popular cartoon characters in the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York. This came despite concerns over windy weather conditions that almost grounded the balloons.
Thirty balloons had been scheduled to participate in the parade, some more than 50 feet tall and handled by 90 volunteers. They’ll be marching along with dozens of floats, bands and other performers.
Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted out this message: Good News, New York City: the winds are holding and the #MacysThanksgivingDayParade balloons will FLY!”
The question has been asked, what would it have cost if the balloons had been grounded? Macy’s does not report any costs associated with the production of its annual events, a company spokesperson told FOX Business.
But, there are estimates out there. The parade costs somewhere between $10.4 million and $12.3 million each year, according to Rakuten, an online shopping rebate company. They guess that each balloon uses between 300,000 and 700,000 cubic feet of helium, costing at least $510,000. Companies pay $190,000 to sponsor a new balloon or $90,000 for a returning balloon.
But Macy’s or parade sponsors would not necessarily have to write off grounded balloons as a total loss. The parade supply company Victory Corps recommends parade planners obtain event insurance to cover a variety of potential problems, including adverse weather.
“Your event should not take place without the benefit of proper insurance coverage,” the company writes in its parade planning guide.
This would not have been the first time high winds affected the event — a similar issue grounded balloons during the 1971 Thanksgiving parade.
There have been several balloon-related mishaps over the years since 1927, when the original Felix the Cat balloon got caught in some telephone wires. Popeye’s sailor hat filled with water in 1957 from rain and dumped water on surprised bystanders.
In 1986, a Raggedy Ann balloon crashed into a lamppost, but no one was injured.
One off-duty police officer suffered a broken shoulder in a 1993 incident with a Sonic the Hedgehog balloon, and a Cat in the Hat balloon famously knocked over a lamppost in 1997, injuring several people and putting one woman into a coma for weeks.