NEW YORK — The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade featured balloons, bands, stars and heavy security in a year marked by attacks on outdoor gathering spots.

With new faces and old favorites in the lineup, the Americana extravaganza made its way through 2 1/2 miles of Manhattan on a cold morning.

“The crowds are still the same, but there’s a lot more police here. That’s the age we live in,” Paul Seyforth said as he attended the parade he’d watched since the 1950s.

“Not a lot’s changed – the balloons, the bands, the floats – and that’s the good thing,” said Seyforth, 76, who’d flown in from Denver to spend his 50th wedding anniversary in New York and see this year’s parade.

The televised parade was proceeding smoothly, though about midway through, a gust of wind on a largely calm day blew a candy-cane balloon into a tree branch, and it popped near the start of the route on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. No one was injured.

Timothy McMillian and his wife, their 9-year-old daughter and his in-laws started staking out a spot along the route at 6:30 a.m. They’d come from Greensboro, North Carolina, to see in person the spectacle they’d watched on TV for years.

“With the event being out in the open like this, we were concerned,” said MacMillan, a 45-year-old schoolteacher who booked a hotel months ago. “But we knew security would be ramped up today, and we have full confidence in the NYPD,” he said.