By Leslie Albrecht
UPPER WEST SIDE — Thousands descended on the Upper West Side on Wednesday to watch Macy's inflate its Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons, and one local school used the occasion to pump up its PTA budget.
The Anderson School on West 77th Street and Columbus Avenue held a fundraiser peddling food to hungry balloon watchers.
The kindergarten through 8th-grade school is just down the block from the American Museum of Natural History, where crowds gathered to watch jumbo balloon characters such as Snoopy and Kool-Aid Man get pumped full of helium in advance of Thursday's parade.
The school started the balloon-linked fundraiser last year when Macy's rented the school's play yard to store porta-potties for the crowds, said Amy Davidson, the PTA's vice president of fundraising.
"We thought, the yard is going to be open anyway, so why don't we raise some money from the community and not just our own families?" Davidson.
Between 75 and 100 volunteers pitched in to either make baked goods or donate other food to sell, Davidson said. The bake sale ran from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Davidson said the money raised will go toward sports, music and arts programs, which have suffered from Department of Education budget cuts.
"Those are things that are second on the list when it comes to DOE allocations," Davidson said.