Raleigh celebrates 70 years of Christmas parade

Dana Shefet, Business Manager

Year after year, spectators from all across the east coast join together in Raleigh to watch the annual Raleigh Christmas Parade. The parade is a main attraction during the holiday season, usually occurring the weekend before Thanksgiving. The parade celebrated its 70th annual occurrence Nov. 22, 2014.

The Raleigh Christmas parade is known for its festive floats, marching bands, giant balloons, animals, entertainers and specialty vehicles. The parade ends with a visit from Santa Claus, who wishes everyone a Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season.

The parade route is 1.4 miles and begins on Hillsborough Street. The parade passes by important sites in downtown, including the State Capitol.

“I thought the parade was really cool. I was not able to go watch it downtown, but I saw it on television. It seems that the parade gets better and better each year, so it is really hard to choose a favorite float. I hope I will be able to go watch the parade in person next year,” said Wesley Weaver, freshman.

The parade begins at 10 a.m every year, and thousands of people line the streets hours before in order to get a good spot to watch the parade. People usually arrive two hours in advance to claim a spot. The 70th annual parade drew the most spectators in the history of the parade: over 65,000 people. The parade committee hopes to keep having more people come watch it every year.

“I dance for Premier School of Dance, and we tap dance in the parade. I have been in the Raleigh Christmas Parade for the past six years and next year will be my last time in it. Being in the parade gives me another opportunity to perform, and I always see a lot of people that I know watching the parade from the sidewalk,” said Maya Shefet, junior.

The Raleigh Christmas parade is an opportunity to celebrate the holiday season and is a preview of the upcoming winter months. The tentative date for next year’s parade is Nov.21, 2015 at 10 a.m. People all around North Carolina should try to join next year for the joyous celebration.