While you were relishing waking up in your bed at home yesterday, Bwog joined the vast crowd of Manhattanites who schlepped downtown in the cold early Thursday morning to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The procession of giant balloons—an enjoyable if odd holiday ritual, when you think about it—included a few new characters among the more than 40 oversized inflatables marching down Central Park West. Buzz Lightyear, a Smurf, Horton the Elephant, and a Keith Haring tribute figure debuted this year in the parade, which also featured elaborate floats, countless high-steppin’ marching bands, and Santa Claus.

Aside from a small brush against a building by the SpongeBob balloon, everything appeared to go according to plans. No lampposts were knocked over or balloons accidentally popped, although Bwog kept hoping they would release the balloons like they did back in the 1920s.

Oh, and all of that helium the parade uses? All 200,000 to 300,000 cubic feet of it? This year marks the first that workers for the parade’s helium supplier, Linde North America, recovered and recycled the gas at the end of the route.

More photos after the jump.

Dora, the plucky little explorer


A fish with a regrettably shaped mouth


Snoopy entering Columbus Circle


The new Haring tribute balloon


Some perspective on the parade. Note Central Park (right), Trump International Hotel (middle), and Broadway (branching to the left).