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Photo of parade with giant Gumby balloon and marching band
Gumby balloon in the Parade Spectacular, November 21, 1999

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Parade Spectacular
A Local Legacy

Have you ever seen a parade with floating balloons in the shape of characters like Gumby or Dick Tracy? Do you know why such big balloons float in the air? It's because they are filled with helium, and helium gas is lighter than air so it floats.

Gumby, Dick Tracy, Rocky and Bullwinkle, and many other giant balloon characters float through downtown Stamford, Connecticut, in the annual Parade Spectacular. The festivities include marching bands, dancers, and more. The parade falls at the same time as other holiday events in town, from the lighting of the Christmas tree to a North Pole adventure land in Latham Park.

Stamford's annual holiday balloon parade started in 1993 as a small, hometown affair and has become one of the largest helium balloon parades in the country, with 30 giant helium balloons floating above the city and people coming from all over the region to see them. In 1999, there were an estimated 250,000 spectators.

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