Millions Line the NYC Streets for Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 2012 [Video]

More than three million people lines the New York streets to watch the 86th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The Macy’s 86th Thanksgiving Day Parade is the biggest highlight for many on Thanksgiving Day. This year’s was not an exception.

Millions of New Yorkers have soaked up bright autumn sunshine as the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade kicked off in New York, putting a festive and cheerful mood in the air in a city still coping with the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

The sidewalks and roads were covered in multicolored confetti as tourists and locals gleefully watched the parade

The popular Macy’s parade was attended by more than 3 million people and watched by 50 million on TV. The weather was a sunny 47 degrees Fahrenheit (8.3 Celsius). Parade-goers under the clear blue sky watched  marching bands, performers, legions of giant and colorful balloons of Elf on a Shelf and Papa Smurf, a new version of Hello Kitty, Buzz Lightyear, Sailor Mickey Mouse and the Pillsbury Doughboy.

The event was visited by real-life stars included singer Carly Rae Jepsen and Rachel Crow of “The X Factor.” Jepsen gave an awesome live performance. Another big name celebrity showing up at this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was “The Wanted.” The British band was checking out the way American’s celebrate the holiday in New York City.

The American holiday of Thanksgiving Day celebrates the harvest and blessing of the past year.

According to the Holiday Guide, airports, train stations and highways were expected to remain busy as Americans made their way home to reconnect with family and friends for Thanksgiving — although some reunions might be bittersweet because of the damage and displacement caused by horrible storm Sandy.

Some 5000 people affected by October’s deadly storm Sandy were given seats along the parade route. It was also planned for volunteers to serve thousands of turkey dinners to people it left homeless or struggling.

“It means a lot,” said Karen Panetta, of the hard-hit Broad Channel section of Queens, as she sat in a special viewing section set aside for New Yorkers displaced by the storm.

CBS News reports, Alan Batt and his 11-year-old twins, Kyto and Elina, took in the parade at the end of the route, well away from the crowd and seemingly too far away for a good view. But they had an advantage: Two tall stepladders they hauled over from their apartment eight blocks away — one for each twin.

“We’re New Yorkers,” the 65-year-old Batt said. “We know what we’re doing.”

For some, the once-sacrosanct feast now starts the holiday shopping season — and store openings keep getting earlier. Black Friday now starts on Thanksgiving Day itself at many stores and some shoppers eagerly race from their dinner tables to line up for bargains, delaying their second helpings until they’ve purchased the latest toys or electronic devices

Across the country, other cities offered a mix of holiday cheer and acts of charity. Thousands of people made the most of the mild, sunny fall weather to watch Detroit’s Thanksgiving parade, hours ahead of the Lions’ annual home game. Also Chicago and Philadelphia were among the big cities hosting parades.

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