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Crowds Watch Balloon Inflation For Stamford Parade Even As Winds Threaten

The Fred Flintstone balloon is one of the first balloons inflated Saturday before the UBS Parade Spectacular on Sunday.
The Fred Flintstone balloon is one of the first balloons inflated Saturday before the UBS Parade Spectacular on Sunday. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
A person on stilts at the balloon inflation party Saturday for the UBS Parade Spectacular, which steps off at noon Sunday.
A person on stilts at the balloon inflation party Saturday for the UBS Parade Spectacular, which steps off at noon Sunday. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Santa and Mrs. Claus along with a helper are always popular. They were at the inflation party for the UBS Parade Spectacular on Saturday evening.
Santa and Mrs. Claus along with a helper are always popular. They were at the inflation party for the UBS Parade Spectacular on Saturday evening. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Sandy Goldstein, President of the Stamford Downtown Special Services District, the sponsor of the parade.
Sandy Goldstein, President of the Stamford Downtown Special Services District, the sponsor of the parade. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
The Octonauts balloon is new for this year's UBS Parade Spectacular.
The Octonauts balloon is new for this year's UBS Parade Spectacular. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
A child poses with clowns at the balloon inflation party Saturday for the UBS Parade Spectacular.
A child poses with clowns at the balloon inflation party Saturday for the UBS Parade Spectacular. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Super Grover slowly rises as it is inflated Saturday.
Super Grover slowly rises as it is inflated Saturday. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern

STAMFORD, Conn. — Thousands of people took advantage of a warm Saturday afternoon to watch as the balloons were inflated for Sunday's UBS Parade Spectacular in Stamford.

And it might be the only chance to see the balloons: A bad weather forecast, which includes a high wind advisory, looms for Sunday and threatens the big balloons.

Sandy Goldstein, president of the Stamford Downtown Special Services District, said the forecast is calling for a cold day with winds gusting up to to 25 mph, which is the cut-off point to allow the balloons to fly.

"Right now it's still a go," Goldstein said as she oversaw the activity Saturday. "The winds seem to be manageable. Right now they are saying 19 to 25 mph, so we'll see."

With or without the balloons, the "phenomenal" parade will still go ahead, Goldstein said.

The parade itself — featuring a new "Octonauts" balloons along with 14 other large balloons — is slated to step off at noon Sunday.

The starting point is at the intersection of Summer and Hoyt Streets. The parade continues down Summer Street and makes a left on to Broad Street and then a right on to Atlantic Street where it ends at 400 Atlantic St.

The parade draws the largest crowd of any one-day activity in the state, Goldstein said.

Goldstein said a decision on marching with the balloons will be made Sunday morning, a few hours before the parade is scheduled to start.

It's the 23rd year the parade and the 11th year that UBS has been the title sponsor.

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