How to not stick to your tuba: Tips for parade performers in bitter cold

John McDevitt
November 21, 2018 - 4:00 am
Organizers prepare for the 99th annual Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade.

John McDevitt/KYW Newsradio


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Final preparations are underway for Philadelphia's 99th annual Thanksgiving Day Parade along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

More than 4,000 marchers will parade throughout the city Thursday, and with many parade participants coming from warmer climates — including Hawaii — organizers are offering some tips on performing in the frigid temperatures.

Officials for the country's oldest parade are monitoring the winds and working out the kinks in contingency plans to safely maneuver floats, marching bands and helium balloons through the streets.

"The threshold of when a large balloon theoretically can't fly is at 20 to 22 sustained mile-an-hour winds," said Todd Marcocci, parade co-producer, who is entering his 29th year with the parade.

The day is expected to be sunny but only reach a high around 30 degrees with winds near 15 miles per hour, and the temperature should fall into the teens at night.

"Health and safety for everybody is of the No. 1 priority."

He said organizers have been letting marching bands in on a secret: How do bands keep playing their music if it gets too cold?

Marcocci said the answer is equal parts of glycerin and water.

"By putting it in an eyedropper into the horn valves of the brass instruments, then it doesn't freeze."

And for those who don't already know, bundle up in multiple layers on Thursday.