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Macy’s Parade Hopes For Light Winds

November 23, 2000

NEW YORK (AP) _ Organizers of the 74th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade are hoping high winds won’t ground Mickey Mouse and his friends.

A brand new Mickey Mouse balloon, the star of this year’s holiday parade, and three other towering entries _ Cassie of the PBS series ``Dragon Tales,″ the Internet butler Jeeves and Ronald McDonald _ are scheduled to make their debuts on Thursday.

But if wind speed exceeds 23 mph or gusts are stronger than 34 mph, the balloons won’t be allowed to lift off. The guidelines were adopted after a 1997 accident that left a parade spectator comatose for 24 days.

The National Weather Service was predicting winds of 15 to 20 mph _ close enough to the limit to ensure that a final decision on the balloons won’t be made until Thursday morning.

Weather permitting, the parade will mark the first appearance by Mickey Mouse since 1982. He will be joined by 13 other helium-filled characters.

Meanwhile a woman who is seeking damages from the city and Macy’s after she was injured during the store’s 1997 Thanksgiving Day Parade has sued five more defendants for $10 million because of the accident.

Maria Clohessy, 47, of Pearl River, N.Y., was one of four people injured when the Cat in the Hat balloon crashed into a street lamp at 72nd Street and Central Park West because of high winds.

Pieces of the light hit Clohessy, breaking bones in her left hand, damaging ligaments in her left thumb and opening a gash on her head that required 18 stitches, the initial suit said.

In her new filing Wednesday, Clohessy named Aerostar International of South Dakota, manufacturers of the balloon; Random House, Dr. Seuss Enterprises and Geisel-Seuss Enterprises, owners, creators and designers of Cat in the Hat products; and NBC television network, producer and director of the parade.

Clohessy’s lawsuit alleges that the defendants decided to use the oversized balloon in the parade despite dangerous wind conditions.

The new defendants either did not return telephone calls or could not be reached for comment.

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