For the 19th year UBS sponsored Big Balloons scurry through the corporate concrete canyons of Stamford Connecticut bringing the joy of greed and unaccountable villany through big bags of gas and vapid consumer marketing to impressionable children of all ages.
This year we have 12 bands, 6 floats, and 18 Balloons the newest of which, The Lorax, is a 40 foot tall celebration of how ‘green’ and environmentally conscious the good burghers are, represented by the 9 members of the Grand Marshal Team of first responders fresh from their contest with underwater squirrels.
Also new this year is Red from Fraggle Rock appearing with old favorites Oscar the Grouch, Clifford the Big Red Dog, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Elmo, Billy Blazes, Kermit the Frog, Hagar the Horrible, Smurfette, Cookie Monster, Big Bird, The Cat in the Hat, Mr. Potato Head, Popeye, Scooby Doo, Garfield, Fred Flintstone, and Super Grover. The master of ceremonies is Alan Kalter of “The Late Show With David Letterman”.
There are also clowns to scare the youngest-
For the most part, the Auguste plays the fool. As Season explained, they’re the clowns that have no idea what they’re doing in their routine, blowing up a balloon backwards, or accidentally letting it go so it whizzes out of their hands. But in the end, their balloon is perfect.
White Face clowns know exactly what to do with their balloon, mini-bicycle or the bowling pins they’re juggling. They do everything right. But in the end, it’s a total disaster.
The two work together, playing off each other’s yin and yang. As the perfectionist White Face clown meticulously works with his props, the Auguste garners giggles through his trial and error. In the end, the White Face generates laughter from the audience with his failed exercise, while the Auguste rejoices in his Tada moment.
What? You say there’s another Big Balloon Parade?
Their mascot appears to be a windblown comb over about as convincing as Sam Puckett’s lip squirrel and they have a mere 16 Balloons following the retirement of Snoopy. The returning veterans are-
- Buzz Lightyear
- Charlie Brown
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid
- Kermit the Frog
- Kung Fu Panda
- Pillsbury Doughboy
- Ronald McDonald
- Sailor Mickey
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- SpongeBob SquarePants
with 3 new additions-
- The Elf on the Shelf
- Hello Kitty
- and Papa Smurf
They’ve also managed to find 12 bands to supplement their freezing cast of Broadway lip-syncers-
- Banda Musical Delfines, Veracruz, Mexico
- Father Ryan High School, Nashville, TN
- Kenton Ridge High School, Springfield, OH
- Macy’s Great American Marching Band, United States
- Niceville High School, Niceville, FL
- North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro, NC
- NYPD Marching Band, New York, NY
- Oak Ridge High School, Conroe, TX
- Saratoga High School, Saratoga, CA
- United States Air Force Band & Honor Guard, Washington, DC
- University of Louisiana Lafayette, Lafayette, LA
- Wyoming All-State Marching Band, Wyoming
and 28 floats for 28 celebrities and 9 performance groups.
It’s nationally televised on CBS and NBC, I’m going to favor the CBS broadcast since NBC will repeat at 2 pm after the National Dog Show. It used to be that you could gain an advantage by watching CBS’ uptown coverage but so much of it is pre-canned and tape delayed it’s hard to get any continuity out of either presentation. If you want to see Broadway on Ice go with NBC’s Herald Square location.
Happy Thanksgiving all, I’ll be joining you again later for Throwball.