STAMFORD, Conn. — With The Temptations crooning over the speakers — “I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day” — Daniel, a giant balloon tiger, took flight in the rain Thursday afternoon in Stamford.
“It would not be our press conference to learn how to fly the balloon if it wasn’t rainy, “ Stamford Downtown Special Services District President Sandy Goldstein said before volunteers raised the ballon. It has rained on the press conference for each of the last three years.
But the tradition of rain can only mean one thing as it has in past years: “A beautiful day a week from this Sunday,” Goldstein said.
The UBS Parade Spectacular, which steps off at noon Sunday, Nov. 22, started 22 years ago.
It's one of the largest balloon parades in the country, and tens of thousands of residents from across Fairfield County flock to Stamford to watch volunteers pull 14 giant helium balloons down city streets. Each year, as many as 200,000 spectators come to Stamford, according to festival organizers.
“This balloon parade means so much to so many people,” Goldstein said.
The raising of the balloon of Daniel Tiger, a beloved character from PBS Kids, drew the attention of passersby on the street, who snapped photos with cameras and smartphones.
Mayor David Martin called the event a “fabulous parade.” He helped walk Daniel through the park and onto Walton Place, a short road closed off for the trial run.
Lori Feinsilver, a representative from UBS, said the company is honored and excited to sponsor the parade again. It has been the title sponsor for the past 10 years.
“This has been a tremendous source of pride for us,” Feinsilver said, adding that the company has many employees in Stamford.
Aside from Daniel, who was presented at the press conference, Kung Fu Panda will also make his debut this year.
This year’s parade will also feature returning favorites, including The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Big Bird, Elmo, Mr. Potato Head, Paddington Bear, Scooby-Doo, Shrek and Super Grover.
On the parade route attendees will enjoy 10 marching bands, including the Sacred Heart University Marching Band, the NYPD Emerald Society Pipe & Drum Band, The Saints Brigade Drum & Bugle Corps, and high school groups from Stamford, Westhill, Trumbull, Brentwood and Harrison.
Point72 Asset Management will host a Balloon Inflation Party on Saturday, Nov. 21 from 3 to 6 p.m. at Hoyt Street and Summer Street as spectators catch a behind-the-scenes look at the balloons as they come to life.
The parade begins at noon Sunday, Nov. 22, at the same location and concludes on Atlantic Street.
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