Terror-wary cities revel in traditional Thanksgiving fun

By Zhang Ruinan in New York | China Daily | Updated: 2017-11-25 07:12

The United States celebrated Thanksgiving on Thursday, with huge crowds turning out for traditional parades amid tight security and many others enjoying turkey feasts with families and friends.

In New York City, the traditional Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade saw thousands of people pack Manhattan's streets to watch marching bands, elaborate floats and enormous balloons.

About 3.5 million revelers took to the streets on Thursday for the parade as police went all out to secure the 91-year-old extravaganza, one of the nation's biggest outdoor holiday events.

It was the first time for Huang Yulian, a resident from Xi'an, Northwest China's Shaanxi province, and her family to visit the US.

"My sister used to live in New York, so she recommended we come to the parade," Huang said.

Huang was with her 6-year-old son, Zhezhe, at Herald Square and 35th Street, near where the parade concluded and also where all the performances took place. She said he loves the animated Disney movie Frozen, although he wasn't too happy with the cold. The temperature in New York on Thursday was around 4 C.

Because of its many recognizable cartoon-character floats, the parade is a favorite of youngsters.

"We are from Texas. We decided to come to New York for the parade three months ago," said Andrew Byers, who arrived in Manhattan on Wednesday with his wife and three children. "It's crazy, and my kids loved it - they enjoyed it very much."

For many US citizens, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade has been as much a part of Thanksgiving as turkey and football since 1924.

The parade featured the customary colorful giant balloons, marching bands and floats and a tight layer of security, as millions of spectators gathered along the route.

New York Police Department increased security on Thursday along the parade route, with the October truck terrorist attack which killed eight pedestrians near the World Trade Center still fresh in the memory.

Mindful of that carnage and a shooting on Oct 1 in Las Vegas in which 58 people were killed at a country music festival, the NYPD took extra precautions to make sure the parade was safe, especially because the Islamic State said last year in an online posting that the event was an "excellent target" for a vehicle attack.

Safe and secure

Officers with assault weapons, portable radiation detectors, bomb-sniffing dogs, sharpshooters on rooftops and sand-filled city sanitation trucks were deployed to defend the 4-kilometer parade route in Manhattan, which stretched from the Upper West Side to Herald Square.

The large-scale parade passed without security incidents, except for a group of demonstrators protesting US President Donald Trump's immigration policies briefly blocking the route before cops removed them.

In Chicago, the annual McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade also rolled out under tight security along Chicago's Cultural Walk State Street on Thursday.

Xinhua and AP contributed to this story.

Terror-wary cities revel in traditional Thanksgiving fun

(China Daily 11/25/2017 page8)

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