By Jesse North
Updated November 27, 2008 at 11:30 PM EST

Participants in the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade are supposed to look insanely cheery no matter what, but with temperatures in the low 40s and plenty of sun this year, they didn’t have to fake it. I was up at 9 a.m. to catch every corny second of this holiday mainstay, and after three hours of overdosing on scarves, brass sections, and lip-synching, here are some of the moments that stood out.

The parade gets Rick-rolled: While the monsters of the Cartoon Network were in the middle of a song, the one and only RICK ASTLEY burst out of their float out and broke into “Never Gonna Give You Up.” My life is complete! All Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parades will pale in comparison now that Astley has put his footprint on this one. Did anyone else burst out laughing at the end of the song when the monster/puppet shrieked “ILIKERICKROLLING”?

The Radio City Rockettes have a fashion moment: The Rockettesbroke tradition from their red and white outfits and donnedchampagne-colored mini-dresses. Finally, a fashion choice as sexy astheir chorus-line kicks!

In The Heights makes Broadway look good: The cast of the 2008 Tony winner for Best Musical (including a clearly psyched composer and star Lin-Manuel Miranda) looked pretty awesome as they performed the title song from the show, managing to pull off the only Broadway performance that wasn’t cheese-tastic this year.

The Nutmobile remains totally awesome: Mr. Peanut, head honcho of Planters, drove his hot ride through Herald Square, and it was worth it just to hear Matt Lauer announce the arrival of the Nutmobile (and also to hear my mom call out from the kitchen that she knows a few people she’d like to put in it).

Al Roker shamelessly plugs NBC shows: Listening to Roker talk up the struggling network’s non-hits as if they were American Idol-level successes proved absolutely painful. Next to a grinning Justin Bruening, the star of Knight Rider, Roker said, “Some kid growing up will have a Justin Bruening lunch box.” Umm, I don’t think so.

Harajuku Girl balloon heads sully the festivities: Donning enormous balloon heads onnormal human-sized bodies, performers bounced around on a float asHarajuku girls. Did we really need to cross this line? On Thanksgiving?

White Christmas makes Broadway look bad: Are these people for real? The performance from this holiday-themed Broadway show was stickier than the pecan pie I broke into last night. And not in a good way.

A tradition of bad writing continues: It wouldn’t be the same old parade if it wasn’t filled with terribly written zingers. Here are some of the greatest hits: “A bear-hug is understood in any language.” “There they are, the unofficial marshals of the parade — pilgrim man and pilgrim woman.” “We await the arrival of superstar Miley Cyrus.”

All right PopWatchers, I’m gonna go seek out the mashed potatoes that have been haunting me the past couple weeks. What did you think about this year’s parade? Did it still hold the magic it did when you were a kid? And what were the best and worst moments for you?

addCredit(“Yana Paskova/Getty Images”)