November 12, 2013

The 2013 Chicago Thanksgiving parade cartoon balloons

The 2013 Chicago Thanksgiving parade cartoon balloons
Garfield Balloon
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Brian & Jaclyn Drum (CC BY)

This year’s annual Chicago Thanksgiving Day parade is scheduled to be held on Thanksgiving morning between 8 AM to 11 AM (Central Time), as usual on State Street in downtown Chicago. The parade will be telecast on WGN locally and nationally, as well as online.

Chicago’s parade tends to be less commercialized than the big Macy’s one in New York City, with actual parade elements appearing: local community groups, high school marching bands, area businesses, etc.

Of course, Chicago’s parade has balloons. This year’s featured balloons for the parade:

  • Garfield and Pooky: The famous orange cat and his favorite teddy bear. Garfield’s a staple in Chicago’s parade; imagine it helps that “Garfield” creator Jim Davis also is from the midwest, specifically Muncie, Indiana. Kids will recognize Garfield from “The Garfield Show” on TV.
  • The Tasmanian Devil: A classic Looney Tunes character, and one appropriate for a food-centric holiday like Thanksgiving. Kids might recognize Taz from airings of Looney Tunes on Cartoon Network, including “The Looney Tunes Show.”
  • Tweety: Another classic Looney Tunes character, though apparently without his hungry pursuer, Sylvester. Might be interesting to see the Tweety balloon “chased” by the Taz one, though.
  • Curious George: The popular children’s literature character and, these days, a popular PBS children’s cartoon.
  • The Nutcracker: The classic Christmas icon and ballet.
  • Teddy Turkey: The parade’s official mascot, according to the website.
  • Foofa: Apparently a “Foofa” (which I’d not heard of until now) is a character from Nickelodeon’s “Yo Gabba Gabba.”
  • Mr. Potato Head: The popular toy and (lately) animated character in Pixar’s “Toy Story.”
  • Arthur: Like Curious George, a popular children’s literature character and the star of a very-long-running PBS children’s cartoon.
  • Madeline: Another popular children’s literature character.
  • Pac-Man: The classic video game character, who’s also had a few TV shows (one in the 80s, another airing currently).
  • Sid the Science Kid: A PBS children’s cartoon character, produced by the Jim Henson Company.

As usual, a mix of classic and modern characters, versus the more modern (and occasionally flash-in-the-pan) nature of New York’s balloons.

One area where New York’s parade shines: NBC’s Al Roker seems to be a big animation fan; he’d probably get a kick out of Taz and Tweety. Meanwhile, from what I’ve seen of previous years of WGN’s coverage, their anchors don’t seem to be huge animation fans, though it might also be a generation/age gap (Rocky and Bullwinkle, balloons in a previous year’s parade, aren’t as famous as they once were). Speaking of “moose and squirrel,” maybe a Mr. Peabody and Sherman balloon would’ve been appropriate—classic, and they have a movie coming out next year!

Tags: animationChicagoholidaysMediaparadeThanksgiving