Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fanciful Floats: What’s New for the Thanksgiving Parade

By Elise Rosen

A giant animated wooden train, dancing elves and the arrival of the Snow Queen are just a few of the wonders to look forward to as seven new floats make their debut in tomorrow's Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.

In all, 27 magical moving stages make up the fleet -- along with 15 giant character helium balloons, 800 clowns, 12 marching bands, and 1,600 performers -- for the 84th annual holiday extravaganza in New York.

The delightful "On the Roll Again" features a worldly family of ducks with luggage in tow venturing out on a trip. Lewis the Duck, the mascot for Homewood Suites by Hilton, heads up the three-car train that makes up one of the longest floats in the procession. On parade day, Kylie Minogue will be on board performing "Locomotion" and one of her latest hits.

"The carpenters had an absolute blast making this one,” says John Piper, vice president of Macy's parade studio in Hoboken, NJ, where the floats were on display in a preview Nov. 16. “It was like making a pull toy for your kids, but really huge.”

Piper's team of about 30 designers, artists, animators, carpenters, technicians and electricians work painstakingly throughout the year to bring these whimsical creations from imagination to reality.

On "Elves Raise the Roof," the party starts and keeps on going with frolicking, fun-loving elves dancing atop the towering new float by OfficeMax.

Joan Rivers is to arrive in spectacular form, amidst shimmering snowflakes and icicles, as "Snow Queen" aboard this new addition to the parade. Her daughter Melissa Rivers will play Snow Princess and son Cooper will take the role of Jack Frost.

The other new floats for 2010 are: “Top Hat!” commemorating the Apollo Theatre’s 75th anniversary, featuring Gladys Knight performing; “Home Baked Goodness” of Morton Salt as the backdrop for Jessica Simpson; “Mount Rushmore’s American Pride” showing off South Dakota tourism; and “Dora’s Christmas Carol Adventure” from Nickelodeon’s Dora the Explorer.

[Caption credit: Lewis the Duck,mascot for Homewood Suites by Hilton, at the Macy's parade studio in Hoboken, NJ. Photo by Elise Rosen]