Frigid temperatures and blustery winds were no match for holiday cheer as giant character balloons took to the skies and performers on floats and marching bands made their way through New York City's streets on Thursday for Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

SpongeBob, Charlie Brown, the Grinch and other big balloons were cleared for takeoff just before the parade, although some of them floated at noticeably lower heights above the people holding their tethers, like the outstretched hand of the "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" balloon that appeared to hit some of his handlers on their wool cap-covered heads.

The 21 degrees at the start made it one of the coldest Thanksgivings in the city in decades. Forecasts called for sustained winds of up to 20 mph and gusts up to 30 mph.

Bystanders refused to let cold temperatures put a damper on watching the parade, breaking out the blankets and sleeping bags to watch the giant balloons go by.

Diana Ross, John Legend, Martina McBride and the Muppets from "Sesame Street" performed.

Billie Jean King feted on 75th birthday

Billie Jean King celebrated her 75th birthday, which landed on Thanksgiving this year. The tennis great recently hosted a birthday party at the New-York Historical Society that included New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and video tributes from Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama. Kraft noted King's social justice work, including her influence on the passage of Title IX. The 1972 federal law opened doors for girls and women by banning sex discrimination in educational and sports programs. Nona Hendryx, Cyndi Lauper and Sara Bareilles performed, along with the Girls Prep Choir from the Bronx. Emma Stone and Alan Cumming serenaded King with a tune from "Cabaret."

Jailed: A popular Russian rapper was sentenced Thursday to 12 days in jail for performing on a car after prosecutors banned his gig. Husky, who has a wide following among young Russians with his videos scoring up to 6 million views on YouTube, was arrested Wednesday. A court in the city of Krasnodar sentenced Husky on charges of hooliganism.

Big hit: Michelle Obama's "Becoming" has become a massive hit. Crown Publishing said the former first lady's memoir sold more than 1.4 million copies in print and digital formats in the U.S. and Canada in the seven days after it was released Nov. 13. Crown said "Becoming" is the No. 1 adult nonfiction title in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Holland, Spain, Denmark and Finland.

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