The 1997 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade started off like any other, with a procession of balloons shaped like kids’ favorite cartoon characters lining the streets. A giant purple Barney the dinosaur floated above the heads of spectators, peering down with his black and white eyes.
“Leading up to the start of the parade, all indications pointed to the fact the winds were dying down,” Tim Ray, a spokesperson for Macy’s, told the New York Times. “It seemed a perfect day to fly balloons.”
It was not. Powerful gusts moving as fast as 43 miles per hour swept through the procession, and Barney’s handlers struggled to hold on to the ropes. Flailing side to side, he struck a lamppost and punctured his side, which led him to deflate in dramatic fashion. Police officers ran to the balloon the deflate it faster, pushing all the air out and running to stand on top. The purple dinosaur was removed from the scene at 51st street.
Watch the scene below:
Although the handlers had a lot more on their plate than they expected, some were thrilled with the excitement brought by the day’s events.
“This is one of the greatest experiences of my life,” a Barney handler that went to help with the Cat in the Hat told the New York Times.
Rudy Giuliani, then-mayor of the city, promised his team would look into the incident to try and avoid it happening in future.
This year’s parade is likely to have far fewer flailing dinosaurs, with wind speeds forecast at just six miles per hour and mild temperatures of 46 degrees. The parade is set to feature such classics as the Pillsbury doughboy alongside newer balloons like the Angry Birds Red mascot.