MANHATTAN - A festive mood prevailed today as the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade made its way through the crowded streets of New York under brilliant sunshine.

About 3.5 million people were expected to crowd the parade route, Macy's predicted, while an additional 50 million watched from home.

Chopper 12 provided a bird's-eye view of the festivities as balloons floated over the parade route in Manhattan.

On the ground, paradegoers saw dozens of floats and balloons that featured characters seen on "Sesame Street" and SpongeBob SquarePants, among others.

Plenty of celebrities also dotted the parade route. AP wire services were used in this report.