A dedicated group of volunteers from the Stevens community will, once again, help to make sure the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a roaring success for the millions who watch it live or on television.
When giant balloons of Hello Kitty, Spiderman and Kermit the Frog begin their annual float through Manhattan on Nov. 22, it will mark the 27th year a Stevens crew will work tirelessly in the background of the iconic, All-American event.
“We’ve actually upped our number of volunteers,” said Linda Vollkommer, co-coordinator of the volunteers and head women’s fencing coach at Stevens. “We have 125 volunteers and six teams this year.”
The Stevens volunteer crew is made up of administrators, staff, faculty, students, alumni, and even parents. Some have volunteered time and time again. Some are new to the spectacle. All have received specialized training so they know how to inflate mammoth balloons, which when fully filled with helium can be six-stories high and require more than 70 handlers.
In addition to training sessions preceding the parade, the Stevens team assembles in New York City to prep the balloons the night before Thanksgiving, often rising in the wee hours of Thanksgiving morning to finish the inflation. During the parade, they are responsible for directing the movements of the balloon handlers along the parade route.
This year, Stevens teams are assigned to the big balloons, the small balloons, and the “balloonicles,” or hybrid balloon-vehicles.
Watch the 80th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade from 9 a.m. to noon on Nov. 22, 2012 on NBC, or live in New York City.