The Daily Pulse:

The Tale of the Gift-Dropping Blimp

In case you missed our earlier blog post about the JC Penney's blimp that was scheduled to drop gifts over Market Square, just sit down and read our account of how it all went down.

After getting off to a slightly late start after 10 a.m., they commenced the blimp gift giving. The big red blimp emerged from a giant present box (smoke machines were involved) and flew around the big crowd, teasingly dipping low only to fly off to the other side of the square. Two gifts dangled from a hook mechanism on the bottom of the blimp, and were dropped separately. You know that "OHHH!" sound crowds make when someone on the football field or soccer pitch whips his/her shirt off or reveals him/herself to be someone else? There was a lot of that during the first couple drops.

Most people snatched and moved to the side when they caught whatever gift was being dropped. The gifts included earbuds, iPod speakers, socks, and scarves (pretty cute scarves, at that). A lot of the people who caught gifts had come hoping to get some of their Christmas shopping done, though they all seemed genuinely surprised that they actually got something. 

Muna Rodriguez, who caught a scarf, said she was out to lunch with her boss and coworkers when her friend sent her a text about the blimp gift drop. Rodriguez was pretty set on catching a gift--so much so, "I knocked her out of the way!" she said. The "her" turned out to be her boss. Rodriguez said she was trying to get the present for her boss, though. So maybe that's ok. She caught a black and white scarf. 

There were a few serious lulls between drops, and the crowd definitely thinned out, even during the lunch hour. When we returned around 2:45, Market Square was pretty quiet. The blimp was being tossed around in the wind, and it took about 5 tries for its "driver" to land it back in the giant present box. As soon as it did, though, there was a tiny "boom" and a handful of red glitter poofed out of the box. Exciting stuff. People quickly left after that. Here are our photos from the day. There are many.


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This was the crowd this morning at Market Square around 10 a.m.

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Finally, the JC Penney's blimp emerged from the large present box to make its first gift drop. 

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Kay Wade was one of the first people who caught a gift.

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The South Knoxville resident said she heard about the event when she was at Pete's Diner this morning.

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Ebony Jones and her son Quentell caught iPod speakers. "This is going in one of the kids' stockings," Jones said.

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Kevin Pyles (right, with fiance William Gillam), stopped by to see what was going on...and caught pink ear buds he plans to give to his mother in Nashville. "I just bought her a mixer from Penney's!" Pyles said. 

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One gift got caught on the other when it was dropped.

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Dawn Porter and her brother JR Barker caught some ear buds. Porter said her sister let her family know about the gift dropping. "She came hom and woke us all up," Porter said. Barker's keeping the ear buds.

blimp 10.JPGBeth Long had been on Market Square all morning when she caught a gift close to lunchtime. 

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Surprise! She said she'll give the hat and gloves set to a special someone who "likes the Marvels."

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Tammie Shown was showing her sister around town when she caught these iPod speakers.

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Ivan Martinez caught two gifts! The Bearden High School student caught the scarf first and then some iPod speakers. He's not sure who he'll give them to.

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That blimp was a tease!

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The blimp's crash into the box created a small glitter boom.

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