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Rain Doesn't Dampen Parade

Winds and rain on Thursday did not dampened spirits for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The 72nd annual parade got off the ground at 9 a.m. ET on Thanksgiving Day in midtown Manhattan.

One of this year's balloons
This year, the balloons are less than 50 feet tall, below the 70-foot guideline a city panel proposed after the Cat in the Hat balloon injured four people at last year's parade.

The city wanted to avoid the problems caused last year when 40 mile per hour wind gusts pushed the giant balloons into buildings. One balloon hit a lamppost, toppling it onto a woman. The woman was seriously injured, and has filed a $400 million lawsuit against the city and Macy's.

Under new regulations, veteran balloons of Bugs Bunny, Woody Woodpecker, and the Pink Panther were cut loose because they exceeded the new length and width guidelines. Also cut due to the weather was a new entry, The Wild Thing, from Maurice Sendak's children's book Where the Wild Things Are.

This year, each big balloon was guided by up to 60 trained handlers, 20 more than last year. Two large utility vehicles anchored each of the 12 biggest balloons, and each was accompanied by a technician monitoring with a wind meter.

Extra police officers, including a sergeant, walked next to each balloon. They had the authority to ground the balloons if necessary.

A character for the parade
New additions to the balloons include Babe, based on the movie pig of the same name, and the bespectacled scientist Dexter, based on a Cartoon Network character.

Four balloons, including perennial favorite Spiderman and new entry Wild Thing, were removed from the lineup because of the weather.

On Thanksgiving eve, in an annual pre-parade event, thousands turned out to get a glimpse of the balloons as they were inflated outside the American Museum of Natural History - New York's upper west side.

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