VIDEO & PICS: Giant balloons inflated for 2021 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) — Crowds of delighted spectators gathered near Central Park on the Upper West Side on Wednesday to watch the giant balloons spring to life ahead of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

In recent years, balloon inflation day has become almost as big as the parade itself.

Spectators were able to watch as 15 character balloons, including new additions Baby Yoda and Ada Twist, were pumped up. Three dozen novelty and heritage inflatables were also filled with air.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Dermot Shea also stopped by the event.

Here's a look at the beloved holiday tradition:

Thanksgiving balloons
Giant balloons for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade are inflated on Nov. 24, 2021 Photo credit Juliet Papa
Thanksgiving balloons
Giant balloons are inflated for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on Nov. 24, 2021 Photo credit Juliet Papa
 Thanksgiving balloons
Giant balloons are inflated for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on Nov. 24, 2021 Photo credit Juliet Papa
Thanksgiving balloons
Giant balloons get inflated for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on Nov. 24, 2021 Photo credit Juliet Papa
Baby Yoda balloon
People watch as the Grogu (Baby Yoda) balloon as it is being inflated by the Macy's inflation team ahead of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade November 24, 2021 in New York City. Photo credit David Dee Delgado/Getty Images
Thanksgiving balloons
The Macy's inflation team works on balloons as they prepare ahead of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 24, 2021 in New York City. Photo credit David Dee Delgado/Getty Images
Pikachu balloon
The Macy's inflation team works on balloons as they prepare ahead of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 24, 2021 in New York City. Photo credit David Dee Delgado/Getty Images
Thanksgiving balloons
The Macy's inflation team works on balloons as they prepare ahead of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 24, 2021 in New York City. Photo credit David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

Adults were required to show proof of vaccination at the 72nd Street and Columbus Avenue entrance. Unvaccinated children under 12 were allowed in with a vaccinated adult.

Masks were also required.

The balloon inflation festivities were held from noon to 6 p.m. and the 95th annual parade will step off at 9 a.m. Thursday.

The parade, which will feature 8,000 marchers, will be back in full force this year after being a TV-only event in 2020 because of the pandemic.

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