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Balloons Were Low, But Spirits Were High At Stamford's Thanksgiving Parade

The Westport Weston Family Y Showtime Exhibition Gymnastic Team tumbled its way down the route at the Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular.
The Westport Weston Family Y Showtime Exhibition Gymnastic Team tumbled its way down the route at the Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
Volunteer wranglers kept Bob the Building on the down low for Sunday's Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular.
Volunteer wranglers kept Bob the Building on the down low for Sunday's Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
Fred Flintstone wasn't exactly flying high, but he was flying at the Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular Sunday.
Fred Flintstone wasn't exactly flying high, but he was flying at the Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular Sunday. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
The NYPD Emerald Society Pipe & Drum Band makes its way down Atlantic Street.
The NYPD Emerald Society Pipe & Drum Band makes its way down Atlantic Street. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
NBCUniversal attempted to pass out free balloons, but several headed for the clouds in Sunday's blustery winds.
NBCUniversal attempted to pass out free balloons, but several headed for the clouds in Sunday's blustery winds. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
Dancers from the Locust Performing Arts Center bust a move at the Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular.
Dancers from the Locust Performing Arts Center bust a move at the Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
The Uniondale High School Knights Marching Band got a warm reception at the Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular.
The Uniondale High School Knights Marching Band got a warm reception at the Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
Barney lumbers down the route in the Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular.
Barney lumbers down the route in the Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
Barney was flying high before he came down to earth at the Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular.
Barney was flying high before he came down to earth at the Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
A unicyclist wows the crowd at the Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular.
A unicyclist wows the crowd at the Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
Center Stage Dance Studio offered selections from "Grease" at the Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular.
Center Stage Dance Studio offered selections from "Grease" at the Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
Comedic daredevil Bello Nock waved to fans before heading to the head of the parade route.
Comedic daredevil Bello Nock waved to fans before heading to the head of the parade route. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
Two floating Christmas ornaments were the first balloons in the Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular Sunday.
Two floating Christmas ornaments were the first balloons in the Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular Sunday. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
Rich Askintowicz dances with his daughter, Keira, at the Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular.
Rich Askintowicz dances with his daughter, Keira, at the Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
Comedic daredevil Bello Nock shimmied up a stories-tall street lamp prop swaying in the breeze.
Comedic daredevil Bello Nock shimmied up a stories-tall street lamp prop swaying in the breeze. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
Parade fans bundled up against the cold winds.
Parade fans bundled up against the cold winds. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
The giant birthday cake started to deflate near the end of the parade route.
The giant birthday cake started to deflate near the end of the parade route. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
The Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular welcomed members of Samba New York!
The Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular welcomed members of Samba New York! Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
Shrek dragged his knuckles on the ground, but managed to make it down the parade route Sunday.
Shrek dragged his knuckles on the ground, but managed to make it down the parade route Sunday. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
Flags flew at the Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular.
Flags flew at the Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
The cast of Saxe Middle School's "Aladdin Jr." spread a little theatrical magic at the Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular.
The cast of Saxe Middle School's "Aladdin Jr." spread a little theatrical magic at the Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
The Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular welcomed Ozzy the Octopus to the route Sunday.
The Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular welcomed Ozzy the Octopus to the route Sunday. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness
Santa himself brought up the rear at the Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular.
Santa himself brought up the rear at the Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness

STAMFORD, Conn. — Do you love a parade? Check out the all the fun and festivities that took place Sunday at the annual Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular.

The giant balloons looked like they were hunting for loose change on Atlantic Street, but spirits were high and performers were game at the blustery Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular on Sunday.

With winds gusting to more than 30 miles per hour, parade organizers delayed the big show for a half-hour, allowing an impromptu dance party in the street in front of the reviewing stand.

By 12:30 p.m., the Downtown Special Services District and Stamford Police decided to let some of the balloons crawl down the mile-long route to the delight of the estimated 200,000 in attendance.

Fourteen-time MC Alan Kalter strayed from his script more than once to account for the airborne absentees.

“Paddington Bear didn’t make it,” he said as the children’s favorite proved a no-show. “He’s hibernating.”

Parade aficionados said they didn’t mind as there were plenty of rousing bands and marching units to applaud.

“We’ve been planning this for weeks,” said Rich Askintowicz, who brought his young daughter Keira. “It’s great — balloons or no balloons.”

Police motorcycles from Connecticut, New York and New Jersey — their lights flashing and sirens blaring — kicked off the order of the march, followed closely by the Fairfield County Police Pipes & Drums, playing their rendition of “The Marines’ Hymn.”

A dozen bands performed along the parade route, belting out everything from Stephen Foster’s Americana classic “Hard Times” to Cameo’s funk-filled “Word Up.”

Dancers from the Locust Performing Arts Center, Samba New York!, Center Stage Dance Studio and City Center Dance kept families’ toes tapping in the frigid stands.

Comic daredevil Bello Nock scaled a stories-tall street lamp prop, swaying precariously at the top before shimmying down head first.

Of the five new balloons set to debut this year, Peppa Pig and Pirate Pete couldn’t make it, but Captain Barnacles, Alphonso the Dragon and Ozzy the Octopus were welcomed with cheers.

A floating birthday cake made it to the reviewing stand just in time: A gust of wind tore a hole in its side and it began deflating as its volunteer wranglers worked to get it across the finish line.

Mayor David Martin joined Kalter at the mic for a time, thanking fans for braving the cold for another successful parade.

“You’ve been knocking it out of the park!” he said as Santa himself brought up the rear.

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