Wednesday, November 21, 2007

macy s thanksgiving day parade

One of Circus World Museum's most spectacular circus wagons will play a featured role in the Macy 's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, sponsored, appropriately, by a circus.

The wagon is one of the museum's prize possessions, part of a colorful collection of antique restored circus parade wagons. Known as the Ringling Bros. United States Band Tableau, it was built by Bode Wagon Co. of Cincinnati in 1903.

For the Thanksgiving Day parade, the 5-ton-plus wagon will need the locomotion of eight Percheron horses driven by Myron Layton, of Standfordville, N.Y. Layton 's hitch has pulled the heavy wagons in several Great Circus Parades in the past, according to a news release from the Circus World Museum in Baraboo.

The wagon, which was loaded Tuesday for the trip to New York, will be sponsored by the Big Apple Circus, a 30-year tradition and "a soiree of scintillation" in New York City.

A troupe of circus musicians led by Charles Schlarbaum will occupy the wagon.

The parade, which is set to begin at 10 a.m. Thursday, will be broadcast on NBC television, WMTV (Ch.15) in Madison. For those hoping to see this wagon, it should be on the broadcast at 10:29 a.m., said Big Apple spokesman Joel Dein. The wagon will trail behind the Pillsbury Doughboy float, Dein said.

The wagon was designed as one of several with world power commemoration, this one representing the United States. According to a museum description, the "rolling masterpiece " features hand-carved decorations focused on the allegorical "Goddess of Liberty," flanked by Native American figures.

The 22-foot wagon was used by Ringling Bros. in street parades through 1918. According to a museum catalog, the last time it appeared in a circus parade was in New York on April 21, 1923: "The circus staged a street procession in support of the Mayor 's Committee of Women, which was generating monetary support for the Milk Fund."

It was restored by museum craftsmen in 1991. The 200 circus wagons and vehicles at the museum in Baraboo account for two-thirds of the circus wagons in existence
weekend, as Broadway's strike talks resumed, there was a surge of optimism among theatergoers in New York and around the nation. When talks faltered on Sunday night, that optimism died.

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A list of some of the shows currently running that are recommended by Times theater critics.

Post a Comment People planning to visit the city and take in a show had a new decision to make: Now that most of the shows they wanted to see were canceled, should they still come?

Some decided to cancel their holiday vacations, but many others, like Lysa M. Hetrick, 12, vowed to make the best of it and either get tickets to one of the shows still open or just find other things to do.

Lysa, a seventh grader from Scottsdale, Ariz., in the city until Saturday, was busy rehearsing for her chorus role in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, but she hoped to catch a few shows anyway. The ones she wanted to see most, "Legally Blonde," "Hairspray," "Chicago" and "A Chorus Line," are all shuttered.

"I'm disappointed, but I guess I'll find something else to do," Lysa said. Her plans now include shopping, dinner, ice skating and the Rockettes.

Lysa's mother, Maria D. Castro, 43, was disappointed, too.

"I'm wondering if we can afford to come up again," said Ms. Castro, a doctor. "We've seen some of the traveling shows, but it's not the same as being on Broadway; it's not the caliber."

Karen Thurm Safran, 45, from San Jose, Calif., had been over-the-moon ecstatic about the great seats she had obtained for herself and her two children to see "The Phantom of the Opera," another one of the canceled shows.

"My son, when he was 8, used to walk around the house singing 'Christine, Christine, you have to do your homework' to the 'Phantom' music," Ms. Safran said. "My kids were glued to the DVD of the movie."

She got some financial gain from the strike. Ms. Safran asked the hotel to discount her reservation to match the current strike prices the hotel is charging and saved about $250. She said her family might go to watch the balloons get blown up for the parade.

"We're trying to get tickets to the Rockettes, but we'll be way up high in the nosebleed section," she said.

Many people who have seen the headlines about the strike have missed the fact that eight Broadway shows remain open, said Chris Boneau, a spokesman for several Broadway and Off Broadway shows still running. Among the shows still playing are "Mary Poppins," "Pygmalion" and "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee."

He said some Disney employees were staying outside the theaters where canceled Disney productions had been playing, giving advice to people on what they could do. Some people needed directions to bars and restaurants; others needed hugs.

Jef Furr, 51, senior vice president of Music Travel Consultants in Indianapolis, a company that books trips for performing groups, had his own headaches from the strike. He had organized trips by three groups of high school band students, who were coming to the East Coast to play in the Macy's parade and in a parade in Philadelphia. The students were spending about $900 apiece on airfare, food, lodging and tickets to the Rockettes and "Legally Blonde."

Watching the strike news, Mr. Furr sent a panicked e-mail message to his group sales agent to try to get the tickets exchanged. He was relieved to learn they would now see "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee."

"The funny thing is, one of the groups that was seeing 'Legally Blonde,' when the band director told his kids they were now going to see 'Spelling Bee,' the kids were more excited," he said.

Evania G. Nichols, 47, had planned to fly in for the week with friends from Orlando, Fla. They had tickets for "Jersey Boys," "Wicked" and "A Chorus Line," all of them now closed.

"I was really on pins and needles this weekend when I thought they'd make a decision," Ms. Nichols said of the negotiations. She eventually decided not to make the trip.

"During Thanksgiving, it's so magical," she said. "It's one of those things you only do this time of year; it's the whole deal."

Ms. Nichols, who works in sales for Johnson & Johnson, estimated that she would have spent $4,000 on tickets, hotel, dinner and transportation, not including the shopping she was planning to do. Instead, she made plans to meet friends in North Carolina.

"We're going to watch the parade on TV and make horribly disgusting breakfast pastries, and we'll be sad," she said. "It's such poor timing. They probably could have picked a time that would have sent a message without punishing so many people."

Mr. Boneau was just looking forward to the end of the strike. "We're going to all hold hands and sing 'Kumbaya' when this is all over."

Blame the Great Depression and Franklin Delano Roosevelt's desire to spur the economy.

Thanksgiving was not a fixed holiday at the beginning of Roosevelt's presidency in 1932. It fell to the president to issue an annual Thanksgiving proclamation.

In 1933, Thanksgiving fell on the last Thursday of the month ― Nov. 30 ― and retailers threw a fit. Merchant's organizations pleaded with Roosevelt in 1933 to move Thanksgiving one week earlier. He refused.

Even then, no one really started shopping for Christmas presents until after Thanksgiving. If Thanksgiving came earlier in November, they theorized, there would be more shopping days available before Christmas.

But he didn't refuse in 1939, and FDR moved Thanksgiving from Nov. 30 to Nov. 23.

Problem is, it caused problems.

Some retailers were giddy and others complained they'd lose business. Calendar makers nationwide were now wrong and school schedules nationwide were now open to question.

Some states ignored FDR. Some governors declared Nov. 30 Thanksgiving, as it should have been. This only complicated the matter. What if Wisconsin celebrated Thanksgiving on Nov. 30 and Illinois celebrated on Nov. 23? What do families with relatives in both states do?

FDR bucked tradition and observed Thanksgiving on the second to last Thursday in November for two more years. The amount of public outrage prompted Congress to pass a law on Dec. 26, 1941, decreeing we'd all celebrate Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday in November every year.

How long does it take to fill up one of those balloons that are in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade? And what do they use to fill them?

Helium fills the balloons, except for in 1958 when there was a helium shortage and the balloons were hauled down Broadway on cranes.

As for when, Inflation Eve, as it's known in New York City, is a Big Apple tradition. Workers inflate the balloons the Wednesday before the parade at Central Park West and Columbus Avenue between 77th and 81st streets. Inflation Eve starts in late afternoon and continues until it's over.

The balloons are unfolded, spread and covered with nets weighted with sandbags. They're filled in compartments. Each balloon comes with a chart, detailing how and in what order the compartments are filled.

Macy's is the world's second largest consumer of helium. The United States government is the first. The SpongeBob SquarePants balloon will consume about 16,200 cubic feet of helium, and stands 62 feet high, is 38 feet wide and 28 feet long.

The balloons first appeared in 1927. Felix the Cat and the Toy Soldier were the most popular. Balloons have appeared in every Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade but one since the parade's 1924 inception.

Winds in 1971 were so stiff that the balloons were canceled. The TV audience watched clips from 1970, and those attending the parade were just out of luck.

How many times have the Packers played on Thanksgiving Day?

Thirty-nine, according to the Packers' 2006 media guide.

They lost 22-14 on Nov. 27, 2003, at Detroit in their last appearance on Thanksgiving Day and they beat the Stambaugh (Mich.) Miners 14-0 on Nov. 25, 1920, in their first Turkey Day tilt.

Green Bay's overall record in Thanksgiving Day games is 11-18-2. Their most lopsided win is a 38-7 victory Nov. 26, 1931, over the Providence (R.I.) Steamrollers, and their most embarrassing loss is a 31-0 defeat Nov. 26, 1925, to the Pottsville (Pa.) Maroons.

Detroit and Green Bay have played 17 times on Thanksgiving Day, including every year from 1951-1963. The Packers are 5-11-1 against the Lions on Thanksgiving Day.

The Packers' second most frequent opponent on Thanksgiving Day is The Frankford (Pa.) Yellowjackets. Green Bay and Frankford played each season from 1926-1930.

Green Bay has played Dallas and the Chicago Cardinals twice.

They played the following teams once: Stambaugh; the Duluth (Minn.) Kelleys; the Hammond (Ind.) Pros; the Kansas City Blues; the Brooklyn Dodgers; and the Staten Island Stapletons.

What is Glad You Asked?


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