Macy's shows off new balloons for parade

November 15, 2011 2:39:20 PM PST
A 35-foot elf floats above the Macy's Parade studio in New Jersey. Gazer is supposed to be delivering wishes to Santa in the North Pole, but from the looks on the faces of children who saw him, their wishes have come true already.

Macy's unveiled five new floats for the 85th annual Thanksgiving Day Parade. The ZhuZhu pets float includes a two-story inflatable 'Zhuniverse' and a slide.

The NHL float will feature children ice skating on a frozen pond and taking slap shots at a wooden turkey.

Another float highlights the Statue of Liberty's hand holding her torch.

"It's amazing to see them come to life. They start out as an idea, and then on a piece of paper, and then the magicians at the Macy's studio bring them to life," Amy Kule, the executive producer of the parade, said.

Amazingly, all of the floats will be painstakingly disassembled to fit through the Lincoln Tunnel next week to travel from the Moonachie studio to the parade route in Manhattan. School children toured the workshop to learn more about how the floats and balloons go from an idea to reality.

"Everyone has their hand on it, from the ironworkers to the steelworkers to the painters to the sculptors. It takes a lot of people to make one of these things work," John Piper, vice president of Macy's Studio, said.

The new balloons will include Julius the monkey and Sonic the Hedgehog.

The Gazer balloon was designed by Keith Lapinig, a graphic artist from Queens who won a worldwide contest with this model of an elf with a wishing star on his hat.

"It's going to be amazing for me to have my balloon up there with Mickey Mouse and Spiderman," Lapinig said.

For more information about the parade, please visit