As you sit in front of the TV on Thanksgiving morning and watch the parade, keep this in mind —— plastics make it possible.
I'm talking about those big balloon characters, of course.
The giant Bart Simpson and Spider-Man balloons used in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade are made from polyurethane-coated fabric.
In fact, there's a plastics company involved with the project that you might know. More about that in a minute.
According to the American Chemistry Council, most of the big balloons are conceived, manufactured and cared for by 28 full-time studio employees in the Macy's Parade Studio in Moonachie, N.J.
When the team decides to introduce a new balloon character, they start by sculpting scale models out of clay. The models are then used to create casts, which are used to make miniature replicas of each new balloon.
Once they settle on a design, including the colors, they calculate how much helium they'll need to float in the parade. They do that by submerging the models in water.
The average big balloon needs 12,000 cubic feet of helium — by the way, whatever happened to that global helium shortage everyone was talking about last year?
The actual full-size balloons are made using PU-coated fabric, heat-sealed to form the character shape.