MANHATTAN (PIX11) — The official parade is Thursday. But the day before, thousands of people had to Manhattan’s Upper West Side for another big show.

Bluey, Pokemon and Baby Shark are lined up for the main event. Around noon on Wednesday, crews begin filling the characters with helium. It can take up to 90 minutes.

They are secured at street level around the American Museum of Natural History to give people a close look. Some of the balloons are 50 feet long. 12 marching bands and 10 performance groups will join 16 giant balloons, 28 floats and 40 inflatable characters for the parade.

The 2.5-mile route stretches from West 81st Street down Central Park West. It crosses 59th Street to 6th Avenue. The final stop and reviewing stand is in front of Macy’s Herald Square on 34th Street.