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More than 100,000 attend San Diego Big Bay Balloon Parade along Harbor Drive

Evening Edition

The 23rd annual Port of San Diego Big Bay Balloon Parade drew thousands of visitors and spectators downtown to Harbor Drive on Monday morning.

The parade was part of the festivities for Monday night’s Holiday Bowl college football game between the Arizona State Sun Devils and the Texas Tech Red Raiders.

About 100,000 people attended the parade, which is one of the country’s largest balloon parades and features huge inflatables designed as children's characters. The parade also included performances by the marching bands from Arizona State and Texas Tech, and the Bowl Games of America Dancers.

This year’s parade theme was “Ringing In The New Year,” and retired Rear Adm. John ‘Mac’ McLaughlin, president and CEO of the USS Midway Museum, served as grand marshal.

Before the parade began, dachshunds faced off in the finals of the 2013 Wienerschnitzel Wiener Nationals dog races, and a 5-kilometer run took place along the Embarcadero.

Bill Geppert, president of the 2013 Holiday Bowl, said San Diego is a great location for the event.

"The Big Bay serves as the stunning backdrop for what truly is one of the nation's best parades. Hundreds of community-minded volunteers and several dedicated sponsors have made this an event ... we are so proud to present,” Geppert said.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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