Covid-19 pandemic leads to virtual Christmas parade

Nicholas Rose, Features Copy Editor

With coronavirus being a major concern this year, ShopLocal Raleigh, sponsors of the Raleigh Christmas parade, decided in July to go virtual this year. ABC 11 showed the first virtual Raleigh Christmas parade in their 76 years of celebrating November 21st. Many people were upset with this decision. 

“I think they could’ve had a socially distant parade. I believe this would’ve been more fun and had a better turnout,” said Daniel Shoaf, senior

The parade had traditionally had local high school marching bands, dancers, fire trucks and other groups walking down the Raleigh streets. Many students from Athens Drive High School would have participated, including the marching band. 

“I really liked watching us [ADHS] in the Raleigh Christmas parade. It is always my favorite part of the parade,” said Jaden Barnes, senior.

ShopLocal Raleigh, also known as Greater Raleigh Merchants Association, is an organization of locally-owned independent businesses. Their purpose is to promote their members with the Raleigh community and encourage shoppers to utilize these small businesses for their holiday needs. Their biggest promotion of the year is the Raleigh Christmas parade.

Held the Saturday before Thanksgiving, the Raleigh Christmas parade has traditionally been the first parade in the local area and the start of the holiday season. It has grown larger and larger each year and was considered to be the largest holiday parade between Atlanta and New York.

As the pandemic continues to increase the number of positive cases nationwide, promoters of the traditional parade made the decision to hold a virtual parade. Those individuals and groups wanting to participate were informed that the parade would not be held in the traditional manner. The participants would not be walking down the main streets of Raleigh but instead would be sending videos of their performances to Greater Raleigh Merchants Association and on ABC 11 for use in the virtual parade show. 

“Hopefully we will not have a need for a virtual parade next Christmas,” said Barnes.