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Handlers Test Balloons For Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- A test run for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade took place at the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, N.J. Saturday.

Hundreds of volunteers gathered in a parking lot to practice handling one of the five new balloons at the parade.

Handlers Test Balloons For Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Why do people keep coming back to do it? Jim, who will be directing the "Wizard of Oz" balloon, said it all makes for a unique experience.

"Where else can you walk through the streets of Manhattan in front of a five-story balloon with a few million people on either side, and everyone's having a good time," he said.

People at the Saturday rehearsal got to see the new look for the parade's oldest star – Charles M' Schulz's Snoopy. Designers have created a new Snoopy balloon featuring Woodstock riding on Snoopy's head.

This will be the famous "Peanuts" dog's 37th parade.

There were a few tense moments for the beloved pooch when a net got caught on the dog's ear, CBS 2's Cindy Hsu reported.

Crews swarmed to Snoopy's left side and eventually Macy's Parade Studio V.P. John Piper climbed a ladder and freed the net. Minutes later the balloon was up and away and ready to be seen on Thanksgiving Day.

Also making their debut this year are Finn and Jake of "Adventure Time" fame, "SpongeBob SquarePants," and Toothless from "How to Train Your Dragon."

The 47-foot hot air balloon featuring portraits of "Wizard of Oz" characters will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the film.

The parade will step off on Thanksgiving Day at 77th Street and Central Park West, before heading south to Columbus Circle, turning westward on 59th Street/Central Park South, and finally heading south on Sixth Avenue to 34th Street, where it will make its final turn to halt in front of Macy's Herald Square at Seventh Avenue.

The first parade was staged by the store in 1924, with floats, professional bands, and animals from the Central Park Zoo. It was originally organized by immigrant employees at Macy's who were looking to give thanks for the opportunities they had found in America.

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