Meet the newest member of the 85th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade®! We know what you’re thinking, what kind of name is “Gazer”? And, more importantly, where did he come from?
Well, this past August, Macy’s kicked-off its first-ever Great American Elf Adventure, challenging participants from coast-to-coast to find one of thousands of hidden Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade® elf figurines, then paint it and decorate it for the chance to see it be transformed into a high-flying balloon at this year's parade. And the winning design?
You guessed it – Gazer! Turning to the night sky for inspiration, Keith Lapinig of Queens, N.Y., captured the hearts of fans voting in the competition on Facebook (he was the top pick of the 85 best entries) and the true magic of the Macy’s Parade with his creation of Gazer Elf.
You see, when he’s not soaring above Manhattan’s busy streets, Gazer helps grant the wishes of all the children visiting Santa Claus at Macy’s Herald Square. Once a wish is whispered to Santa, it becomes a star, which Gazer then guides safely to the North Pole in order to help make it come true.
“I’m flabbergasted at winning this contest. It’s my dream and I want to thank all the people who voted for me,” says Keith.
The amazing artists at Macy’s Parade Studio have transformed Keith’s pint-size proposal into a towering 34-ft tall balloon, which fittingly features a star on the elf’s hat. Other celestial elements include a moon on Gazer’s face and a star trail that wraps around his body.
As the winning designer, Keith will get the star treatment himself! Along with three special guests, he’ll enjoy VIP seating as Gazer the Elf makes his maiden voyage in front of more than 3.5 million live spectators and 50 million television viewers.
Talk about letting your imagination take flight!
Don’t miss your chance to see Gazer’s big debut! Tune in to the 85th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade® live on NBC Today, November 24, 9am-Noon.