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What's it like to ride around the city with a bus full of Gap-sponsored cheerleaders? Glad you asked. At this very moment, a special Racked operative is embedded on the Gap's official holiday cheermobile. The bus will spend the afternoon traveling around Manhattan, making frequent stops for the cheerleaders to perform and hand out swag. Follow along below to see how what a holiday promotion looks like from the inside.
12:40pm: I'm at the designated meeting place—the Gap at Fifth Avenue and 18th Street—but the bus isn't here yet. Hope the rain doesn't affect it too much.
12:42pm: They're coming onto Fifth now. Drums are very loud.
12:50pm: There's cheerleaders, drummers, people with cymbals. They're handing out coupons and striped sweaters. If you want one, just listen for them.
12:51pm: Now we're all walking south on Fifth, but we'll be heading to Central Park in an hour or so. The bus is apparently big, like a band's tour bus, and parked somewhere.
1:02pm: They have 1000 sweaters to give away, and about 500 coupons for free denim. Coupons go to people who get really into the performances (start dancing, follow them around, jive along.)
1:08pm: ABC News is going to check out a performance, and they were on GMA today. By the way, we're now driving up Sixth Ave by 27th on the way to the Central Park ice rink area.
1:10pm: The performers are from NJ and Ohio. They head to Chicago after this. One girl hasn't been to NY; this is her first time in any of the cities.
1:13pm: Susan Sarandon was standing on the street next to me, watching the performance on 18th. They gave her a coupon.
1:16pm: The performers have four routines. When it's not raining, they do acrobatics. They are so cute! They did the High Line, Madison Square Park, Times Square and Union Square on Friday.
1:20pm: Gap gave them all Flip HD cameras. And they have WiFi on their bus!
1:23pm: The dancers are telling me they rehearsed for three days in six-hour slots.
1:29pm: We're right by the Apple Fifth Avenue store parking. Then the group will head into the park.
1:38pm: Now we're waiting for ABC News. They want to film the dancers getting off the bus.
1:44pm: The drum corps took over the back lounge of the bus to warm up, with old school hip-hop beats.
1:52pm: Talk in the bus: About cheerleading moves.
2:00pm: An ABC producer is on the bus now, holding up the giving away of free stuff. They're now aiming for a 2:30 performance at Wollman Rink, which will be the last show of the day.
2:04: They'll be in Chicago bext, then LA (December 11-14), then San Francisco.
2:06pm: In a minute, we're marching from Fifth and 66th into the park.
2:07pm: ABC camera guy is running alongside the mini parade.
2:12pm: Available sweater sizes: Medium, large, extra-large.
2:20pm: Probably because of the rain, Wollman Rink is empty. If you want free jeans or a free sweater, get there in the next ten or fifteen minutes—you won't have any competition.
2:38pm: And now we're parading back to Madison Avenue.