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Thanksgiving parade kicks off in NYC amid tight security

Associated Press logo Associated Press 11/24/2016 By MICHAEL BALSAMO, Associated Press
Participants greet others as they await the start of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle) © The Associated Press Participants greet others as they await the start of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

NEW YORK (AP) — Thousands of people were surrounded by tight security Thursday as they lined the streets for the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

A dancer with the Chengdu (China) Panda float is assisted by a fellow dancer before the start of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle) © The Associated Press A dancer with the Chengdu (China) Panda float is assisted by a fellow dancer before the start of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Charlie Brown led the signature large inflatable balloons as the parade kicked off with the spraying of confetti and a ceremonial ribbon-cutting. Costumed characters mingled with revelers and crowds cheered as clowns on bicycles rode by carrying bundles of balloons.

Heavily armed members of the NYPD stand on Central Park South before the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Bryan R. Smith) © The Associated Press Heavily armed members of the NYPD stand on Central Park South before the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Bryan R. Smith)

Spectators, some 10 deep, lined the parade route, which starts on Manhattan's Upper West Side and makes its way down to Macy's flagship store on 34th Street.

The Ronald McDonald and Thomas the Tank Engine balloons float over Central Park West during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle) © The Associated Press The Ronald McDonald and Thomas the Tank Engine balloons float over Central Park West during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

The Charlie Brown balloon was one of three new giant character inflatables in this year's parade and joined returning favorites including Thomas the Tank Engine, Hello Kitty and SpongeBob SquarePants.

Participants walk along Central Park West at the start of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle) © The Associated Press Participants walk along Central Park West at the start of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Among the celebrities expected to attend were Tony Bennett, Aloe Blacc, Sarah McLachlan and Olympic gold medalists Laurie Hernandez, Claressa Shields and Michelle Carter.

Performers skate along Central Park South before the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Bryan R. Smith) © The Associated Press Performers skate along Central Park South before the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Bryan R. Smith)

But attendees also saw some somber sights, like the more than 80 sanitation trucks filled with sand placed at intersections and other places as barriers against any kind of attack. While the trucks have been used like this before — most recently to protect Trump Tower — the New York Police Department said they would play a bigger role at this year's parade in the wake of the cargo truck attack in Nice, France, that killed more than 80 people and a recent posting in an English-language Islamic State group magazine that called the parade "an excellent target."

The Charlie Brown balloon floats over Central Park West during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle) © The Associated Press The Charlie Brown balloon floats over Central Park West during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

There was a heavy police presence at the parade, including bomb-sniffing dogs and officers in uniform with assault weapons and portable radiation detectors. Officers in plainclothes were among the crowds of people.

The Ronald McDonald balloon floats over Central Park West during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle) © The Associated Press The Ronald McDonald balloon floats over Central Park West during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Authorities said there was no confirmation of any credible threat and urged spectators to come out for the parade.

Participants stand by just before the start of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle) © The Associated Press Participants stand by just before the start of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

One prominent person who wasn't in New York City is President-elect Donald Trump, who is spending the holiday at his home in Palm Beach, Florida.

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