Ridge Park Elementary celebrated Thanksgiving early with a parade of balloon sculptures inspired by the book Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet.

Three children with balloon sculptures

The book tells the story of master puppeteer Tony Sarg, who built automated marionettes for Macy’s holiday windows and was later asked to organize a parade for the company. When real animals in the parade proved too scary for young audience members, Mr. Sarg went back to the drawing board to create what would become the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons. 

“Instead of marionettes [where the strings control the puppet from above], he made them upside down so they could float in the air, so more than just the first few rows of people could see it,” said RP second grader Shoshana Ettman. 

After reading about Tony Sarg’s problem-solving and persistence, the second graders were challenged to create their own balloons. The students made sculptures of animals, rainbows, gum ball machines, cartoon characters, and more. 

“Ours is a monster,” said RP second grader Charleigh Gunn.  

“We got to work together, and we got to put glitter on it,” said her partner Noah Callan. “That was a mess!”

The rest of the school lined the hallways as the second graders made two loops of the building with their creations.