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89th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

New York City - The weather was perfect with warm temperatures and light winds as the 89th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade excited viewers along the parade route.  Over three million spectators enjoyed the giant balloons, bands, floats and entertainers.  The heighten awareness of the Paris tragedy increased the security of the New York Police Department along the parade route.  As the police came through the areas the viewers clapped with their appreciation and said “thank you.”


Paddington balloon returned this year and was one of the favorites of the younger crowd as well as the Red Ranger from “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.”  Four new balloons made their appearance, the squirrel from “Ice Age” Scrat, Red from “Angry Birds,” a new red outfit worn by Ronald McDonald and comeback “Dino” the Sinclair Oil dinosaur.


Riding amongst the floats included Mariah Carey, Trey Songz, Miss America Betty Cantrell, Jordin Sparks and of course the loved float of Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus.

UBS Parade Spectacular Stamford Downtown

Kung Fu Panda
Stamford, Conn. – One of the largest helium balloon parades of its kind took place downtown in Stamford, Connecticut.  Stamford Town Center and The Stamford Advocate/Hearst Media One presented UBS Parade Spectacular.  Point72 Asset Management presented the evening before a Giant Balloon Inflation Party.  About a  hundred thousand people lined the Stamford Downtown streets as 14 giant helium balloons, floats, dance groups, 10 marching bands plus more paraded down the streets. Children were filled with excitement and waved their signs “spin” to get the balloon handlers to circle the balloons in the middle of the street.  Weather was comfortable and winds were light bringing out a large crowd to celebrate.  


Two new balloons were amongst the other balloons, "Daniel Tiger and Kung Fu Panda."  Other balloons were The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Big Bird, Elmo, Mr. Potato Head, Paddington Bear, Scooby-Doo, Shrek, Super Grover and more.  The Guinness World Record breaker daredevils, “Flippenout” performed.  Alan Kalter, television personality was the parade’s Master of Ceremonies at the grand stand for the 12th year.  This year is UBS’s 10th anniversary as title sponsor.

The 2015 SEMA SHOW

Las Vegas, Nevada – The largest automotive gathering in the world was held at the Las Vegas Convention Center.  More than 100,000 industry leaders from more than 100 countries embraced the unbelievable array of new products as part of the AAIW, The SEMA Show attracts.   Hot vintage collector cars, hotrods and 2016 new model cars showcased a huge amount of wheel mode of travel.  Also, included were future self-driven cars of tomorrow, motorcycles, cars, trucks off road of all sizes and shapes.


The SEMA show was bigger this year with new expansion and show performance pavilion.  Over 2,000 new products on display with over 2,300 companies exhibiting in the million square feet Las Vegas Convention Center.   Feature strengths were on innovation on safety and technology.  Products from the new to the opportunity to extend the used car market to increase hotter designs.

Buddy Holly Meets the Beatles

Grand Forks, ND – Chester Fritz Auditorium was filled with music fans envisioning what it would have been like if Buddy Holly met the Beatles.  Buddy Holly and the Beatles were two of the top music groups of the twentieth century.  Buddy Holly died February 3, 1959 marked by the song “The Night the Music Died.”  The Beatles made their first hit in 1963 and were influenced by Buddy Holly and the Crickets’ music.


Dick Dunkirk was one of the original members of Bobby Vee and The Shadows band.  In 2005 the band was elected to the Mid-America Music Hall of Fame.  Dunkirk was the management team that placed the creative idea in place for Saturday evening performance.  Dunkirk made an appearance with a tribute to the Big Bopper.  Jeff Boxell performed as Buddy Holly.  From Minneapolis the group A Hard Day’s Night Beatles Tribute performed the top hits of the Beatles and encompassed the colorful dimension of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”

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.


Competition was given the go after 8 a.m. and the balloons started ascending on to the field drifting over the target points.  Pilots and their crews drove into the countryside to the north and set up their balloons in order to float on to the field and showed their expertise in maneuvering their balloons.  Balloons from all over the world strive to reach the highest total points.  Competition will continue throughout the week.  The first day of the highest accumulated points was Shawn Raya from Michigan.  The laser light show was shown after the Balloon Glow and AIBF Chainsaw Carving demonstrations throughout the morning.


America’s Challenge Gas Balloon Race was held back another day due to unfavorable weather patterns that they would be flying into.

Balloon Fiesta Lifts After Wind Delay

Albuquerque, New Mexico – The second day of lift-off was delayed for a half hour when the wind was too calm.  The Dawn Patrol was cancelled but as the morning progressed the wind picked up enough to safely launch the first balloon with the mass ascension to follow.  Lucia del Norte with pilot Tom Tollefson was the first balloon up as the American Flag was flown and the Anthem was sung.  Storm clouds were still a concern causing a postponing of the America’s Challenge Gas Balloon Race. 


As a gauge of favorable wind speed for launching is below 10 mph on the ground and 20 mph in the upper atmosphere.  Too little or too much wind can create an unsafe flight and is continually being monitored by the officials before each ascension is granted.  The Balloon Glow was cancelled because the sky opened up with a huge downpour causing too much water remaining on the field.  The laser show was still able to complete the evening along with fireworks.

Albuquerque 44th International Balloon Fiesta

Albuquerque, New Mexico – Saturday morning was the kick-off of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta with Dawn Patrol followed by the mass ascension with 550 balloons from 17 countries launched in several waves.  The early morning hour was a comfortable temperature and slight clouds as the Dawn Patrol balloons lifted off and it was apparent the “Albuquerque box” was working it’s magic.  As the mass ascension took place the sky became clear and the spectacular balloon colors and designs radiated the launching field as a huge crowd of spectators absorbed the marvelous event. 


The launch of the America Challenge gas balloon race was delayed because of unsettled weather across New Mexico.  They will be monitoring the weather to set a new time to launch the seven teams that will be competing.  A new activity was added this year; the Parabatix Sky Racers.  Once the airfield was cleared they performed controlled maneuvers with a large fan style strapped to their backs and a wing-style parachute that extended out.  The racers flew around 40 foot inflated pylons and extended their range to greater heights with controlled stunts. The Twilight Twinkle Glow in the evening was held but with fewer than usual balloon teams participating since the winds had diminished quite low.  The new addition to the finale was laser light show followed by fireworks.

Taylor Swift’s “The 1989 World Tour” Xcel Energy Center

Saint Paul, Minn. - Taylor Swift’s performance to a sold out crowd of over 15,000 fans at the Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minnesota showcased the dominance that Swift continues to have in the music world; amazingly keeping in mind Swift is only 25 years old.  Swift’s total perfection ranged from the presentation of music down to every detail encompassing the whole persona of the stage, screens, backup singers, dancers and a moving catwalk that raised up and reached to the back of the audience also making a circular 360 degree around the arena.  Free wristbands were attached to each fans chair to wear throughout the night gave a sparkling ambience with Swift saying, “I really like seeing you…”


The audience was filled with a mix of all ages and gender.  Younger fans wore lighted dresses holding signs; Our Wildest Dream is to meet Taylor Swift and others reading TS and 1989.  Taylor Swift really is answering the call of American’s favorite daughter, friend and entertainer.  Swift’s wardrobe changes were coordinated with the theme of the music and were tastefully designed and seamlessly choreographed.  Video commentary was shared by Swift’s friends on the large background screens (Selena Gomez, Lena Dunham and others) of their personal knowledge of Swift outside the music arena.

Blake Shelton packs WE Fest Saturday

Blake Shelton
Detroit Lakes, Minnesota – Blake Shelton asked the crowd “do you want me to play the long set or the short set.”  Fans let him know that they were in the open-air arena to stay as long as Shelton was.  WE Fest was host to one of the largest shows for the final evening of a jam-packed country music festival.  Blake Shelton asked the crowd to hold up their cell phones as the main lights were dimmed, giving a dynamic light show as cell phones were swayed.  Backup singer, Gwen Sebastian from Hebron, North Dakota and previously alum with “The Voice” sang a duet with Blake Shelton.  Shelton performed just short of two hours with total passion and made all feel that Saturday night headliner was “All About Tonight.”


Jake Owen performed before Blake Shelton and got the crowd fully warmed up before Blake Shelton came on.  Owen came out with full energy engaging the crowd singing and showcasing his mastering of country music and the guitar.  Other performers Saturday Eli Young Band, Colt Ford and The Swon Brothers.


Rascal Flatts headliner at WE Fest

Rascal Flatts
Detroit Lakes, Minn – WE Fest was jammed packed with the top of Country Music performances.  WE Fest is celebrating the successful 33 years of being one of the top Country Music festivals in the country. The
gates opened with the opening act Maiden Dixie bringing the crowd into a meticulously designed open-air arena.  Logan Mize, Big & Rich, Hank Williams Jr., and Rascal Flatts finished the evening.


Friday and Saturday are fully packed with a complete package for over 50,000 fans to embrace.  Campgrounds are packed with loyal concertgoers.  Headliners for the next two evenings are Miranda Lambert and closing the weekend out with Blake Shelton.

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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