'Festive and fun.' Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular marks 30th year

The streets of downtown Stamford were closed to traffic on Sunday afternoon – taken over by Stamford's 30th annual Downtown Parade Spectacular.
“Today really shows how the community comes together,” said Andre Denunzio, a street monitor.
It’s one of the nation's largest parades with an estimated 100,000 people in attendance.
"It just seems festive and fun," said Jordi Tynan, a volunteer balloon handler.
The real stars of the show are the 15 larger-than-life floats. They were inflated Saturday with 51,000-cubic-feet of helium, including characters like Elmo, Shrek and Nemo.
It took a lot of helium and even more preparation to keep the balloons along their intended route and away from city infrastructure.
“You have to look out for power lines, streetlights, tree branches that might stick out on the streets,” said Jesse Harris, a balloon captain.
Pulling this event off each year is a source of city pride, according to David Kooris, president of Downtown Stamford.
“Being this close to New York, we tend to get subsumed by that market,” he said. “…We do big events here, too.”
As much as the parade is about Thanksgiving weekend, the presence of Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus gave a true kickoff to the holiday season.
“It’s the entry to Christmas and we hope folks will go over to [the] town center and maybe start their shopping,” said Kooris.