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Officials made the call to allow giant balloons of popular cartoon characters in the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York despite concerns over windy weather conditions that almost grounded the balloons.
Thirty balloons participated in the parade, some more than 50 feet tall and handled by 90 volunteers. They marched along with dozens of floats, bands and other performers.
What would it have cost if the balloons had been grounded? Macy's does not disclose any costs associated with the production of its annual events, a company spokesperson told FOX Business.
Of course, there are estimates out there. The parade costs somewhere between $10.4 million and $12.3 million each year, according to Rakuten, an online shopping rebate company. They estimate that each balloon uses between 300,000 and 700,000 cubic feet of helium, costing at least $510,000. Companies pay $190,000 to sponsor a new balloon or $90,000 for a returning balloon.
But that doesn't mean Macy's or parade sponsors would necessarily have to write off grounded balloons as a total loss. The parade supply company Victory Corps recommends parade planners obtain event insurance to cover a variety of potential problems, including adverse weather.
"Your event should not take place without the benefit of proper insurance coverage," the company writes in its parade planning guide.
This wouldn't have been the first time high winds affected the event — a similar issue grounded balloons during the 1971 Thanksgiving parade.
And there have been several balloon-related mishaps over the years since 1927, when the original Felix the Cat balloon got caught in some telephone wires. In 1957, Popeye’s sailor hat filled with water from rain and dumped water on surprised bystanders.
In 1986, a Raggedy Ann balloon crashed into a lamppost, but no one was injured. But one off-duty police officer suffered a broken shoulder in a 1993 incident with a Sonic the Hedgehog balloon, and a Cat in the Hat balloon famously knocked over a lamppost in 1997, injuring several people and putting one woman into a coma for weeks.