Reporting Sandra McNeill
DETROIT (WWJ) – With just mere hours now before the big show, the pressure is on at the Parade Company to get the floats and hot air balloons ready for their close-ups on Thanksgiving morning.
Vice President of Parade Development Jessica Kaminskas said the volunteer balloon handlers have been trained and are ready to walk the Woodward route no matter what may come.
“We have all the balloon handlers, they come out, we inflate probably six balloons and they march around our parking lot,” Kaminskas said. “We teach them how to old the ropes and what happens if there’s big gusts of wind, so they’re prepared for parade morning.”
Kaminskas said she hasn’t lost a balloon yet in her 14 years with the parade, but there was that one year …
“The great legend of Chilly Willy when Chilly got away, but that was not being handled by balloon handlers at the time. It was actually tetherd to the ground and a gust of wind picked it up from the ground,” she said.
Chilly was found later in Lake St. Clair. New balloons this year include Kermit and Smurfette.
WWJ’s Sandra McNeil got a look backstage at parade prep: