Excitement swells as massive balloons prep for ‘Unity’ parade
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The band's visit

Excitement swells as massive balloons prep for ‘Unity’ parade

December 3 event in Jerusalem has float-balloons, operators and professional marching band leaders flown in from the US

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

One of the float-balloons in Israel for the "Unity" parade, taking place December 3, 2018 (Courtesy 2bVibes)
One of the float-balloons in Israel for the "Unity" parade, taking place December 3, 2018 (Courtesy 2bVibes)

For a sneak peak at the eight float-balloons being used in Monday’s “Together — Marching with World Jewry” parade,” each 13 meters high and six to nine meters wide (43 by 20-30 feet), head to the parking lot of Jerusalem’s Liberty Bell Park on Monday morning, where the tremendous floats will be assembled.

The enormous float-balloons arrived in Israel on Thursday, and will be assembled by a team of five balloon operators who arrived from the US this weekend, said 2BVibes promoter Carmi Wurtman, who, along with Tami Dayan from Keshet educational journeys, is producing the parade.

Their other asset in producing this last-minute event is Jeff Beckman, a marching band director from Nashville, Tennessee, who has marched with one of his bands in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and works with several other marching bands in the parade.

He’s in Israel with Mike and Sherry Mazzarisi, his marching band partners, bringing their “experience and expertise” to Jerusalem, wrote Beckman in an email.

Looking forward to the big parade here on Monday! Such a beautiful city!!!

Posted by J Jeff Beckman on Saturday, 1 December 2018

The parade, which was mistakenly touted for including balloons from the famed Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and was then deflated as an event only “in the spirit” of the New York City parade, is still of major proportions, said Wurtman.

The entire parade, a massive column of marching bands, balloons, sculptures from the annual Midburn desert festival, antique cars, motorcycles, clowns, Hapoel Jerusalem athletes and street artists, is an initiative of the Diaspora Affairs Ministry in conjunction with the Education Ministry and several other public offices.

Animal, the beloved Muppet, will be one of the massive balloon-floats in the upcoming “Unity” parade on December 3, 2018 (Courtesy 2bVibes)

The parade, titled “Together: Marching with World Jewry,” is designed to be a demonstration of unity between Diaspora Jewry and the citizens of Israel against the rise of anti-Semitism worldwide.

“Great participants, organizers, balloons, floats, bands, as well as people of all ages to view and experience the parade make for an exciting and memorable parade for everyone,” wrote Beckman. “We feel like we have all of these elements and invite everyone to join in the excitement on Monday.”

The parade route will begin at Liberty Bell Park, along King David Street, through Mamilla into Park Teddy and to Sultan’s Pool for 5 p.m. performances by Matisyahu and Nechi Nech.

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