Thousands of people filled the streets of New York City on Thursday morning to celebrate the return of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade after the annual tradition was dramatically scaled down last year . For many around the city and outside of it, the parade’s comeback to its full glory signaled another step forward in the city’s return to normalcy. This year marked the 95th parade, which has rarely been canceled since it began nearly a century ago, except for three years during World War II. The parade kicked off at 9 a.m. from West 77th Street and Central Park West and made its 2.5 mile journey into Midtown Manhattan. Balloons featured in the event included Smokey Bear, Sonic the Hedgehog, Papa Smurf and SpongeBob SquarePants. Balloons making their debut in the parade include Ada Twist, Scientist, from the popular storybook, who clocks in at 51feet tall.