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SantaCon bar crawl plus protests

New York – Over a thousand Santa’s gathered at the Flatiron building in midtown before heading to the bars on the route that was revealed less than 24 hours before the annual event began.  Two protesters that tried to announce on their megaphone that the SantaCon was cancelled were escorted off their platform and the Santa’s continued on their way of having fun and celebrating the seasonal event.


The SantaCon is set up as a charity with a number of groups benefiting from the proceeds through Participatory Safety organization. The SantaCon continued forward despite attempts to damper the event with posters saying the booze-fueled blight had been canceled. Festive dressing in Santa, Elves, deer, Christmas trees and other decorative outfits filled the area.

Heights & Lights –Stamford

Stamford, Conn. – Heights & lights was presented by Reckson.  From 22 stories above Stamford Downtown thousands viewed Santa’s team rappelling.  General Manager, NY Yankees was the Elf that rappelled down Sunday evening.  Mrs. Claus:  Heather Franc, Rappel Team, Grinch was played by Jason Teitelbaum, Rappel Team, Rudolph:  Ron Markey, Rappel Team, Santa:  Brian VanOrsdel, Rappel Team Captain.


The evening was fulfilled by the annual lighting of Stamford’s Holiday Tree.  Santa and his helpers took a decorated fire-truck up Bedford Street to Latham Park.  Christmas music was performed and hot chocolate was served at the two local churches afterwards.

84th Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting

  NYC – The rain and heavy mist did not hold back thousands from viewing the lighting of the 84th Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting.  New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Tishman Speyer CEO Rob Speyer,Tishman Speyer Chairman Jerry Speyer, Alec Baldwin and Kate McKinnon hit the button to light the tree at 8:55 P.M.  The tradition for 84 years signifying the start of the holiday season in New York City.


The 94-foot Norway Spruce tree was lit with more than 50,000 multi-colored, LEDs on approximately 5 miles of wire.  The Spruce came from Oneonta, New York and was donated by Angie and Graig Eichler. 2016 marks the 13th year the Swarovski Star will adorn the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.


Hosts were Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker and Hoda Koth.  Performers included Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks & Trisha Yearwood, Neil Diamond, The Roots featuring Anthony Hamilton & The Hamiltones, Josh Groban, Sarah McLachlan, Jordan Smith, Pentatonix, Tori Kelly, and The Radio City Rockettes

Winter’s Eve at Lincoln Square

Bettye LaVette
NYC – Tradition continues with the 17th annual kickoff of the Winter’s Eve at Lincoln Square.  Thousands of people lined the west side around Dante Park across from the Lincoln Center.  Three time Grammy nominee Bettye LaVette sang during the lighting of the tree.  Justin Guarini from Broadway’s “In Transit The Musical” was the host.  WABC-TV’s Amy Freeze joined in on the countdown.  Tribute to Sharon Jones was shared since her passing was last Friday.


Bettye LaVette has had a career that has span five decades and 2016 won Best Soul Blues Female Artist in Memphis, Tennessee.  Also, her CD “Worthy” gave LaVette the third nomination.  Also, performers at the tree lighting were Alicia Svigals known as a world leading klezmer fiddler and founder of the Grammy-winning Klezmatics.  Ikebe Shakedown’s performed soul music with a seven-piece band.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade celebrates 90 Years

NYC – The parade route was lined with over 2.5 million viewers ranging from wide-eyed children to adults embracing the nostalgic iconic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade that has been signified for the last 90 years.  During World War II there was a break in accumulative straight lineage number of years when material products were hard to acquire and then began counting again after that period. 


2016 parade encompassed 16 character balloons, 27 novelty/ornament balloons, over a thousand clowns, 26 floats, 16 marching bands and more made the complete 2.5-mile route. 


Extra security was visibly present with more than 80 sand-filled sanitation trucks blocking intersections, added helicopters, bomb-sniffing dogs and officers with assault rifles. A successful parade was completed with Santa wishing everyone a Happy Holiday.

UBS Parade Spectacular continues with grounded balloons

Stamford, CT – The streets were lined with excited spectators for the annual UBS Parade Spectacular and they remained to watch the parade even though the winds would not soften for the balloons.  The 15 balloons that were inflated the evening before were not able to be in the parade because the winds would not go below the 25 mph to safely allow the balloons and the handlers to encompass the parade route.


An estimated 1,500 people marched in the parade that featured college and high school bands, eight floats, dancers and cheerleaders.  Master of Ceremonies, television personality Alan Kalter presided over the UBS Parade Spectacular.  This was the 23rd annual UBS Parade Spectacular and regarded one of the largest of its kind.  Santa Claus and Mrs. Santa Claus welcomed in the Holidays at the end of the parade.  A bit of rain that showed a few flakes drizzled down at the end of the parade.

UBS Parade Spectacular Stamford

The Octonauts
Stamford, CT – Balloons were being inflated the evening before the Annual Holiday Balloon Parade in Stamford, CT on Sunday, November 20, 2016.  The “Balloon Inflation Party” at the intersection of Summer Street and Hoyt Street was packed with wide-eyed children and their parents on a beautiful evening. 


The 23rd annual UBS Parade Spectacular will feature a new balloon, The Octonauts.  Other favorite balloons that will return this year include:  Daniel Tiger, Elmo, Fred Flintstone, Paddington Bear and more.  Over 200,000 spectators are expected as 15 giant helium balloons line the parade route.  Floats, dance groups, 13 marching bands and television personality Alan Kalter will be the parade’s Master of Ceremonies. 

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta 2016

Albuquerque, NM – The 45th Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta was presented by Canon with 550 registered balloon teams including 108 special shape balloons.  The annual festival of hot air balloons is the largest gathering of balloons and balloonists in the world.
  Countries in the number of 19 were present from Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ireland, Lithuania, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Russian Federation, Spain Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, United Kingdom and 43 states in the United States.  Attendance was estimated 839,309 visits, seven countries coverage for media including China, Japan, Qatar, Spain, Switzerland, The Netherlands and the United States.


First Prize in the “hot air overall competition” was awarded to Scott Allsup, of Arizona, Second place – Pat Fogue of Missouri, third – Jerry Copas, Indiana.  Allsup took home a new Buick Encore.  Women’s National Championship was Cheri White – Texas, Second place Elisa Trillanes – New Mexico, third place Janet Lutkus – Ohio.

CMA Award Winners 2016

Eric Church
Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Dolly Parton at the CMA Award Winners 2016.  Lily Tomlin presented the award to her friend and co-star in “9 to 5.”  Taylor Swift gave Garth Brooks the top award of the evening – Entertainer of the year.


The 50th anniversary celebration for 2016 CMA Award Winners:  Garth Brooks-Entertainer of the Year, Eric Church-Album of the Year “Mr. Misunderstood,” Carrie Underwood – Female Vocalist of the Year, Chris Stapleton – Male Vocalist of the Year, Little Big Town – Vocal Group of the Year, Tim McGraw – Song of the Year “Humble and Kind,” Brothers Osborne – Vocal Duo of the Year, Maren Morris – New Artist of the Year, Thomas Rhett – Single of the Year, Dierks Bentley feat. Elle King “Different for Girls” – Musical Event of the Year, Chris Stapleton – Music Video of the Year “Fire Away,” Dann Huff – Musician of the Year.

Dick Dunkirk remembers Bobby Vee during concert at Chester Fritz

Grand Forks, ND – Previously planned concert to feature the “Greatest Group of the Sixties,” incorporated a tribute to Bobby Vee with the passing of Vee last week.  Dick Dunkirk is well known for his involvement and lead bass guitarist of “The Shadows” portion of the Bobby Vee and The Shadows.  During the concert at the Chester Fritz Auditorium Dunkirk had the participating bands perform a number of Bobby Vee’s songs such as “Rubber Ball” and more.  Dunkirk spoke to a crowd of over 600 about his memories of past tours throughout the world with "Bobby Vee and The Shadows."


Chester Fritz Auditorium’s evening was filled with music of the sixties with music from Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, The Beach Boys and The Beatles.  Music performed, “A Hard Day’s Night.” “All My Loving,” “She Loves You,” and “Can’t buy Me Love.”  Closing evening’s act featured music of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”  A standing ovation with an encore closed the evening.

Fargo AirSho featuring Blue Angels

Fargo, ND - The Blue Angels gave an unbelievable performance as they are noted for to a record-breaking crowd.  Weather was hot by the end show on Sunday without a cloud in the sky.  History was made this year when the Blue Angels took flight with the first time having a woman in the cockpit.  U.S. Marine Corps Captain Katie Higgins was the first female pilot in a 69-year history. 
The U.S. Navy Blue Angels flew Boeing F/A 18 Hornet fighter jets.  The Blue Angels are the national first oldest flight team and world wide the second oldest flight team.

Albuquerque Balloon Ascension and Competition

Albuquerque, New Mexico – Monday was the third day that the International Balloon Fiesta gave a go to the mass ascension.  The sky was cloudy but the winds were right to be given the green light to ascend.  Cliff Keller was the pilot of balloon “Lily” and lifted off on the second wave thinking at first the flight might be short but lasted way over an hour with a great landing that encompassed his thirty plus years of experience and teamwork with his wife Jude.  The Chase Crew was made of members that have been with the Keller's for years creating lasting friendships and trust.


Rolling Stones at TCF Bank Stadium “Satisfaction”

Minneapolis, MN - Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones rocked the TCF Bank Stadium with over 50,000 fans.  The rain stopped minutes before the Rolling Stones took the stage and fans stood throughout the two hour plus concert absorbing music that the band has been performing over 53 years.  Mick Jagger remains strong with his iconic dance form that everyone has become accustomed to seeing along with playing the harmonica to “Midnight Rambler.” 


New York Spring Spectacular 2015

Donald & Melania Trump
  New York City - The Red Carpet was lined with celebrities before Radio City Music Hall opened up a seven-week performance.  New York Spring Spectacular takes audiences on a whirlwind adventure across New York City while telling an inspiring and hopeful narrative about New Yorkers who change each other’s lives in unexpectedly wonderful ways. 
Tony Award-winner Laura Benanti, Emmy Award-winner and current pro on Dancing With the Stars, Derek Hough; Lenny Wolpe; Jared Grimes and the Rockettes will be joined by co-creative directors Diane Paulus and Randy Weiner on the red carpet.

Moondance jammin Country Fest weekend

Justin Moore
Walker, MN – A temperamental weather pattern gave way to a large double rainbow over the main arena as Moondance jammin Country Fest was in full swing with a packed arena of fans.  Friday went off like clockwork with the well-defined organization that Moondance has been noted for.  Entertainers began with Dallas Smith, Jon Pardi, Rodney Atkins and Justin Moore.  Saturday will be filled with performances by Lost Highway, Sarah Darling, Joe Nichols and Hunter Hayes.

Obama in New York Fundraising

New York – President Obama landed in New York on Air Force One and was immediately greeted by a small group of people before boarding Marine One to attend two fundraisers.  Along the route Obama made a brief stop at a Gap store to shop for his wife, Michelle and daughters Malia and Sasha.  Gap Inc. is a business that responded to Obama’s request at the State of the Union address to increase wages.


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