NEW YORK – Giant balloons, floats, marching bands and clowns with confetti brought smiles to thousands of revelers Thursday eager to catch a glimpse of a parade as steeped in Thanksgiving Day tradition as turkey and pumpkin pie.
Thousands lined the streets of Manhattan for the 83rd annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, while crowds gathered nationwide for parades in cities such as Detroit and Philadelphia.
Katie Stam, Miss America 2009, waved to crowds from a Statue of Liberty float she shared with Meb Keflezighi, the first American in 11 years to win the New York City Marathon.
Shailesh Dighe and his family came to the fabled New York City parade to snap pictures of celebrities including rapper Jay Sean and singer-actress Keke Palmer. Despite the crowds, Dighe said the parade is "totally worth it."
"When you watch it on TV, you don't get that feeling," said Dighe, who splits his time between Manhattan and Princeton, N.J.
For the first time, the parade route bypassed Broadway, which cuts a diagonal slice through Manhattan, as it made its way south from the Upper West Side to the finish at Macy's flagship store in Herald Square.
The new route traverses the grid of the city's streets and avenues, includes turns around five corners, and is slightly longer than in previous years.
Johanna Castillo, 38, of Guttenberg, N.J., said the new route seemed to better accommodate the crowds.
"I was very blessed to get here at the time I did and find a spot" a half-hour before parade time, said Castillo, who arrived with her two children.
Elsewhere, thousands gathered in Detroit for the 83rd annual America's Thanksgiving Parade. The country's longest-run Thanksgiving Day parade is being held in Philadelphia for its 90th year.
Dense fog delayed some flights Thursday for Thanksgiving travelers headed to the Washington and Baltimore areas.
The Federal Aviation Administration says the fog prompted a ground stop for flights arriving Thursday morning at all three Washington-area airports. Departing flights were apparently not affected. The FAA lifted its ground stop by 10:30 a.m.