The annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, led by a giant inflatable Charlie Brown balloon, stepped off Thursday amid heavy crowds and a strong police presence. Costumed characters mingled with revelers and crowds cheered as clowns on bicycles rode by carrying bundles of balloons. Security measures this year included sanitation trucks filled with sand placed at intersections, bomb-sniffing dogs, and portable radiation detectors, the AP reports. And the crowd seemed grateful for the extra security. Spectators yelled, "Thank you!" to passing police officers, including the New York Police Department marching band.
There was an air of uncertainty about the possibility of an extremist attack after a posting in an English-language ISIS magazine that called the parade "an excellent target." Nevertheless, the parade went off without a hitch Thursday. "There are so many police officers out here, you can't help but feel safe," says spectator Sarah Bender, who watched the parade with her two young sons."It's a day to have fun, watch the balloons, and celebrate with your family. You can't spend your life worrying about what could happen." (Read more Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade stories.)