Baby Yoda flies! ‘Grogu’ balloon debuts at Macy’s parade test flight

Grogu — better known as “Baby Yoda,” the adorable alien at the center of Disney’s megahit Star Wars spinoff “The Mandalorian,” — made his debut as a balloon Saturday morning at Macy’s Balloonfest at Citi Field.

The event was a test flight for the giant balloons that became a signature of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1927. A few hundred handlers took the balloons out for an outdoor trial run in a circle around the ballpark’s parking lot, to get experience flying the freshman class of the inflated creations, which range from 39- to 51-feet tall.

“This is actually my first time and I’m so excited about it,” said rookie balloon handler Jonathan Maravilla, who was among those chosen to walk Baby Yoda around the lot. “I was randomly assigned to that balloon and everybody wants to be with that balloon.”

Will Coss, executive producer of the parade, said the event is the last step in the process of introducing a new balloon to the 95-year-old parade “This is our opportunity to bring all those new balloons out, work with our expert flight team and select balloon handlers to ensure that we understand how the balloon flies and how it reacts in certain weather conditions.”

“We put it through certain series of paces to understand all aspects of the balloon in its natural environment as it will fly on Thanksgiving Day,” he explained, adding that they monitor the weather up until the last minute to make sure it’s safe to fly.

Grogu — better known as “Baby Yoda,” the adorable alien at the center of Disney’s megahit Star Wars spinoff “The Mandalorian,” — made his debut.Georgette Roberts for NY Post

Over the years, wayward balloons have injured workers and spectators. The city enacted strict rules after fierce winds in 1997 caused a Cat in the Hat balloon to topple a light pole and seriously injure a woman.

The 41-foot-tall, 29-foot long Baby Yoda balloon, whose design was inspired by Funko Pops, the super-popular collectible bobble-head like dolls, has an ear span of 37 feet. As he flies, “The Child” is reaching out for the knob from the Mandolorian’s ship, Razor Crest, that he plays with in the series.

The Baby Yoda balloon is 41-feet-tall and 29-feet long.
The Baby Yoda balloon is 41-feet-tall and 29-feet long.

“It goes without saying that our giant character balloons are an iconic element of our show and we are really excited to bring Baby Yoda Grogu to life,” Coss said. “The goal is really to have all of our characters be these larger than life spectacles in the air that should be surprising and delighting through out the entire parade route.”

There were no major problems on the blustery day in Queens, but crews had some kinks to work out.

“I think a little bit of wind, as I mentioned earlier, is a good thing for us on our testing day today,” Coss said. “We’ve adjusted, we’ve experienced it in some weather conditions and that’s really the point and the goal of today.”

“I feel good about the day,” he added. “It was lovely to see the balloons flying. This is our last stage in our production process right before we get to the show so I’m excited for the next couple of days as we prepare for the big day.”

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Grogu — better known as “Baby Yoda,” the adorable alien at the center of Disney’s megahit Star Wars spinoff “The Mandalorian,” — made his debut as a balloon Saturday morning at Macy’s Balloonfest at Citi Field. The event was a test flight for the giant balloons that became a signature of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day…

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