HOUSTON—A worldwide helium shortage could deflate Houston’s 63rd Annual Holiday Parade.
Organizers said they’ve been getting turned down by suppliers left and right, and concern is growing as Thanksgiving approaches.
Suppliers blame the helium shortage on a downturn in natural gas production.
Parade organizers need 22,000 pounds of helium to fill up the balloons that bring a festive flare to the occasion.
“Texas is the largest producer of helium. So how is it that we can’t get helium here for our balloons?” asked Kim Stoilis, CEO and president of the Houston Festival Foundation. “We want to give Houston the type of celebration Houston needs and when (they) think Thanksgiving parade they think inflatable balloons.”
People on the streets of downtown Houston said they couldn’t imagine a holiday parade without balloons.
“You got a lot of people that bring their children or whatnot, and they get fascinated. I think without the balloons it’s going to be kind of boring,” said Brandon Robertson.
Organizers said they will continue to push forward, and they will do whatever it takes to track down the helium needed for the parade.
“There’s a determination. There’s a passion. There’s a commitment, like we will get this helium, but I don’t have it,” explained Stoilis. “I don’t want to be responsible for not bringing that to the city of Houston. By hook or by crook, let’s get this.”
KHOU is a proud sponsor of the 63rd Annual Holiday Parade presented by H-E-B. You can watch the parade on KHOU 11 News on Thanksgiving morning, hopefully with the balloons!