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New Macy's Thanksgiving Parade Balloons Take Test Flights

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There will be some new faces flying high above the city's streets this Thanksgiving.

Papa Smurf, Hello Kitty and the Elf On The Shelf took to the skies near the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, N.J. on Saturday for their first outdoor test flights ahead of the 86th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The brand-new balloons were flown under the direction of Macy's flight management team and monitored for their aerial capabilities.

"To put them through their paces outside, to give them one last check, all the lines, all of the inflation, how they go around making turns and so forth," said John Piper, the creative director of Macy's Parade Studio. "Gives us one chance for adjustments before we get ready for parade."

"This has been a very, very tough month for everybody here in and around New York. We see it as our obligation to do the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade," said Amy Kule, the parade's executive producer. "The whole country celebrates Thanksgiving, and the parade has always been this beacon of hope and rejuvenation."

The parade will travel a new route this year, trailing down Sixth Avenue after heading down Central Park West and across Central Park South.

Organizers say the route will allow more people to get a look at the festivities.

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