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Kalamazoo Holiday Parade balloons will float without helium this year


KALAMAZOO (WKZO) -- Last year's helium shortage that had Kalamazoo Holiday Parade organizers scrambling until almost the last minute has not gone away this year.

But, instead of scrambling for helium, officials have decided parade balloons with a little cold air can go a long way to solving their problem.

"They're set on platforms on wheels," according to Vicki Kettner at Downtown Kalamazoo Incorporated. "Just as the balloon handlers in the past had strings attached to them, this is kind of the same thing but they will be pulled down the street on wheeled platforms."

Kettner tells WKZO Kalamazoo was unable to buy any helium at all this year due to the shortage, forcing organizers to find another solution.

In 2011, officials worked until almost the last minute to find enough helium to float large parade balloons that, when inflated, stand stories high.

Kettner assures parade goers the new procedure for the balloons will not detract from the experience.

"They'll still have the same kind of presence, we just won't be able to lift them up into the air," she said.

Hear the whole Kettner interview from The Lori Moore Show by clicking here.