Where the balloons live

Before I headed back to Richmond, I ventured out to the city yesterday for some pre-Thanksgiving fun. Nothing sounded more awesome than watching balloons being inflated by the Museum of Natural History for the Thanksgiving Day Parade. I imagined myself happily snapping away as the balloons slowly took form and floated into the big blue sky.

That image was tarnished as soon as I stepped outside. First of all, it was almost dark (This happens around, what, 4 p.m. now?). Second, it was raining. And third, there were too many people there, namely kids. Now, I love kids as much as the next non-maternal woman, but they’re pretty much guaranteed to step into shots, obstruct your view (hoisted on their parents’ shoulders) and the like. In many cases, this still could present the opportunity for great familial pictures, except it was too crowded and we were herded like cattle, nicely encouraged by staff to keep moving so as to keep the next group of gawkers happy.

Instead of happy pictures and big blue sky, there was rain, serious multitasking (one hand on the camera, the other on the umbrella), and disgruntled strangers.

“Watch your umbrella!” said the angry woman behind me.
“It’s not even raining!” some guy muttered.
“Oof!” said another after my umbrella stabbed his neck (I guess you could say this one was warranted).

Further, the floats looked like they were held captive, waiting to be freed the following morning for the spectacle that awaited them. Mickey Mouse wasn’t soaring above us, his white gloves in a permanent high five. A net covered him from head to toe. The Pillsbury Doughboy, making his first appearance at the parade, lay with his head on the pavement, weighed down by sandbags. At the end of the line, men and women in bright colored uniforms inflated yet another one doomed to meet its Gulliver-like fate.

Still, beneath all that unglamorous presentation, I admit there was something kind of magical about it.

Happy Thanksgiving, you.

Mickey under siege. Photographers nearby looked through their photos.


Two pups.

Hordes of balloon lovers.

Smurftacular.

Pillsbury Doughboy eats it.

Lilliputian hijinks.

Pooh from behind. What a great last glimpse.

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