Balloons Are Set To Soar In Stamford Parade; Start Delayed A Half-Hour

STAMFORD, Conn. — THE BALLOONS ARE FLYING! That was the message just before noon Sunday from organizers of the the 24th Annual Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular. 

Oscar the Grouch had some issues dealing with the wind in the Stamford balloon parade in a past year.
Oscar the Grouch had some issues dealing with the wind in the Stamford balloon parade in a past year. Photo Credit: Alissa Smith, file photo

The start of the parade has been delayed from noon until 12:30 p.m. 

Spectators along the route reported it was windy, with balloons, hats and leaves flying. But organizers said the balloons will be a part of the parade this year. 

This is the second year in a row that strong winds threatened the blockbuster parade, one of the biggest events of the year in Fairfield County. 

A Wind Advisory was issued by the National Weather Service for all of Fairfield County and the entire region through 6 p.m. Sunday.

Southwest winds of 25 to 35 mph are predicted, with gusts of 45 to 50 mph, through Sunday afternoon. That will be strong enough to blow down limbs, trees, and power lines. Scattered power outages are occurring.

The parade will step off from at Summer and Hoyt streets and continue through downtown Stamford.

The threshold for the helium balloons to fly in the 24th Annual Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular is 25 mph — anything higher is not safe, according to organizers. 

Related story: Stamford Parade Spectacular, Balloon Party To Close Streets This Weekend

Last year, organizers grounded the balloons when wind gusts reached 30 mph. The parade still went on, but many spectators said it wasn't the same without Elmo, the Very Hungry Caterpillar and the other balloons. 

But on the plus side — the parade will still include bands, floats, dancers and, of course, Santa Claus.

“We want more than anything to have the balloons fly in the parade, but public safety is our ultimate concern,” organizers said in a Facebook post on the Stamford Downtown Facebook page on Sunday at 11 a.m. “A decision will be made shortly. Should the balloons not fly, we hope everyone still enjoys all of the talented bands, fabulous floats and more that will still make the Parade Spectacular.”

For more info on the parade, click here.

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