Nov. 28 (UPI) -- The 93rd annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade has ended with the arrival of Santa Claus in New York City.
As promised, more than a dozen giant balloons flew above the Manhattan parade route.
The inclusion of inflatable versions of Snoopy, SpongeBob, Smokey the Bear and other beloved animated characters had been in doubt Wednesday because of anticipated high winds.
"As of now the balloons will fly!" the NYPD Manhattan North Twitter feed said at 7 a.m. on Thursday.
The New York Times reported balloon handlers fought wind gusts to keep the balloons upright a few feet from the ground instead of high in the air as usual.
The New York Post said one of the creations -- the clown Ronald McDonald -- was taken off of the parade route because of a tear in its leg that caused it to partially deflate.
The temperature was 47 degrees when the the parade kicked off, NBC News said. Wind gusts were between 20 and 30 m.p.h.
The traditional event aired on NBC, with Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Al Roker serving as hosts.
Early performances on the broadcast included Celine Dion, and the casts of Sesame Street, Ain't Too Proud to Beg, Beetlejuice, Hadestown and The Tina Turner Musical.
Singing and dancing throughout the telecast were Natasha Bedingfield, Black Eyed Peas, Chicago, Ciara, Josh Dela Cruz, Jimmy Fallon and The Roots, Debbie Gibson, Chris Janson, Idina Menzel, Lea Michele, NCT 127, Ozuna, Billy Porter, Kelly Rowland, That Girl Lay Lay, TLC, Tenille Townes and Chris Young.
Newsday quoted Macy's as saying an estimated 3.5 million people attended the parade.