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My cousin is a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon handler

Dr. Charles Fiorenti of East Setauket helps lead

Dr. Charles Fiorenti of East Setauket helps lead the SpongeBob SquarePants balloon along the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade route in Manhattan. Credit: Fiorenti family

Have you ever watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and wondered how do the balloons fly and move? My cousin, Dr. Charles Fiorenti, is a balloon handler.

Charles is from East Setauket, and this will be his fourth year in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. 

On TV, it looks so easy to hold and walk with the giant balloon, but did you know it can take up to 30 people to handle just one balloon? There is a special training session for the balloon handlers to take. The weather has a big impact as well and can make it difficult to handle the balloon. One year, when Charlie was holding a balloon, it was very windy and another other time there were lots of crosswinds. He has marched in very cold weather but, thankfully, not in the rain.

There is a cool event called Balloon Fest, where brand-new balloons are tried out for the first time. Last year, it was at Citi Field. There is also another cool event the night before the parade where all the balloons are inflated. People are allowed to watch this and see the balloons come alive.

Charlie’s favorite balloon of all time was SpongeBob SquarePants. He doesn’t know yet which balloon he will be handling this year, but he will find out this week. I will be looking for him on TV this year. Maybe you will see him, too.

Pamela Ginex’s Cub Scouts, Troop 168, Syosset


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