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High Helium Costs Almost Ground Big Balloons Parade

The top cop in Springfield, Massachusetts will be leading a holiday tradition in the city.

Springfield Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood will serve as marshal for the Parade of Big Balloons.

"I am honored and proud to be this year's marshal of the balloon parade," said Clapprood.

After more than 30 years, the parade was almost cancelled because of a shortage that has caused a tripling in the price of helium.  

Spirit of Springfield President Judy Matt said just three balloons will be inflated using helium.

" The rest are going to be what we call cold air inflatables which are in the Macy's parade," said Matt. " They are very beautiful and they are big, 20-foot high, and I think kids will enjoy them as much as in the past."

The parade steps off at 11 a.m. on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

The record-setting tenure of Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. The 2011 tornado and its recovery that remade the largest city in Western Massachusetts. The fallout from the deadly COVID outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers Home. Those are just a few of the thousands and thousands of stories WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill has covered for WAMC in his nearly 17 years with the station.