New York (AP) -- The decision came down to the wire, but the big balloons are floating down Broadway.
The trademark characters of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade are up, although they'll be kept lower than usual today because of windy weather.
The last-minute decision lets Snoopy, Pikachu, and Scooby and other famous fliers join the dozens of smaller balloons, floats, marching bands and celebrities that troop toward herald square.
A spokesman says New York's emergency managers kept tabs on wind gusts and decided right before the start of the parade that the big balloons could be used safely.
A Cat in the Hat balloon flew into a light pole and knocked a woman into a coma in 1997. And last year, another balloon broke off a lamppost, sending debris onto spectators. Since then, all balloons have to be grounded if winds reach 23 miles and hour, or gusts will be stronger 34.
Copyright 2006 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.