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It’s an Elf-Apalooza!!!

posted Nov 24, 2014, 8:35 AM by Steven Vaughan   [ updated Nov 24, 2014, 8:35 AM ]
As our nation gathers to give thanks with family and friends, millions or people will watch the 88th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade®. I’ve been one of its 8,000 volunteers that makes the famous 2½ mile march through the streets of Manhattan for sixteen years now. I’m a balloon pilot, who walks backward (yes, backward!) about half a block ahead of my team, monitoring the balloons flight. Should wind conditions, tree branches or other circumstance warrant a change in the flight pattern (lowering it, for example), I use hand gestures, much like an orchestra conductor does, to cue the balloon handlers.

This year I’m once again piloting Charlie, the blue elf that appears with “Kit” and “C.J” in the trio of primary-colored elf balloons that have been a part of the parade since 1947 (exactly ten years longer than the Rockettes!) They measure 34-feet high, 18.5-feet wide, and are filled with 2,100 cubic feet of helium! We escort Santa’s sleigh at the end of each parade, signaling the arrival of Santa Claus! So don't worry if you forget to set your DVR before you come to Mass that morning, we’re not until the end! (The parade airs on NBC from 9AM to Noon.)

Musical icons KISS will lend their presence to the parade for the first time ever as the band, led by more than 600 cheerleaders from around the country, performs a medley of its greatest hits. There’ll also be numbers from this season's Tony Award-winning Best Musical A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder and the new revival of Side Show.

New giant balloons include Thomas the Tank Engine, in honor of his 70th anniversary this year. Paddington Bear, who’s starring in his own movie this January, is so big his suitcase is as big as a garage door!

And to further anticipate the holiday season, on the morning of Saturday, November 29th, while the Liturgy Committee and its supporters decorate the church for Advent, I’ll lead a sing-a-long of Advent songs and hymns. So whether you sing or just listen, come prepare yourself for the holiday as we prepare our community…