Festive floats and giant balloons are on the move in New York City for Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, an annual, nationally-televised spectacle. Blustery weather had threatened to ground the balloons, a crowd favorite not permitted to fly in strong winds.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio drew cheers from the crowd when he declared the balloons “are going to fly” even if a “little lower.” Handlers are keeping the massive inflatables only a couple meters above them.

In the past, strong winds have caused some helium-inflated characters to detach from tethers, leading to injuries.

This year’s parade, the 93rd sponsored by American retail department store Macy’s, includes a canine cartoon character, Snoopy, as an astronaut.

The event features about 8,000 marchers, two dozen floats and many marching bands — ending with an appearance by Santa Claus.

Among the performers scheduled for this year are singers Celine Dion, Ciara, Kelly Rowland and Idina Menzel.

For many Americans, the holiday to give thanks also marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season.