Dora Full of Hot Air?

The title tyke in Nickelodeon’s hit animated preschool series Dora the Explorer will be the first Latina character to appear as a giant helium balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The 79th annual holiday staple will feature a 54-foot-tall Dora looming over the streets of New York City on Thursday, Nov. 24, as more than 2.5 million live spectators and millions more TV viewers look on.

Filled with approximately 15,000 cubic feet of helium, Dora will travel from Central Park to Herald Square on Thanksgiving Day, joining a growing list of Nickelodeon favorites to grace the parade in past years. Past participants include The Rugrats, Blue from Blue’s Clues and SpongeBob SquarePants. In 2002, the title character from the Bill Cosby-created Nick series Little Bill became the first African American to greet viewers in balloon form at the Macy’s event.

“Dora has emerged as an icon in the Hispanic community and has become a favorite among all preschoolers,” says Cyma Zarghami, president of Nickelodeon Television. “We are thrilled that she will be joining the list of great characters who have participated in the wonderful tradition of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.”

Dora the Explorer is a play-along adventure format starring a seven-year-old heroine whose adventures take place in an imaginative, tropical world filled with jungles, beaches and rainforests. The top-rated preschool show on commercial television airs at 9 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. weekdays on Nick Jr. and weekends on CBS.