Raleigh getting excited for Christmas parade

Posted November 13, 2011
Updated November 14, 2011

— The leaves are still falling from the trees, but Triangle residents are getting excited about a visitor from the North Pole who'll be stopping by downtown Raleigh next Saturday.

The 2011 WRAL-TV Raleigh Christmas Parade, presented by the Greater Raleigh Merchant's Association, will step off next Saturday at 10 a.m.

Along with Santa Claus, the parade will star "American Idol" winner and Garner native Scotty McCreery as its grand marshal.

2015 Raleigh Christmas Parade 2016 WRAL Raleigh Christmas Parade presented by Shop Local Raleigh

McCreery said he has fond memories of attending the Christmas parade as a boy. 

"It was always fun, and it’s a good time for the community, so it’s cool to be a part of it," he said.

Approximately 60,000 spectators are expected to crowd downtown sidewalks for the Christmas parade, which is the largest one between Atlanta and Washington, D.C. It features more than 110 entries, including bands, fantastic floats, super-sized balloons, marchers, twirlers and entertainers.

WRAL people broadcasting the parade and riding on the float will be using Twitter to share their experiences. Follow along with Kelcey Carlson (@WRALKelcey), Bill Leslie (WRALbleslie) and Brian Shrader (@WRALtraffic) for street-side updates starting at 6 a.m.

The parade audience – on the street and at home – is encouraged to join the conversation using #WRALparade. Share your photos and parade memories, and you just might see them as part of our news coverage.

Live interview with Santa at Christmas parade Live interview with Santa at Christmas parade will once again have a live "Santa Cam." Web editor Kathy Hanrahan will march alongside Santa as he makes the trip downtown. She'll be talking to the big man about what this year's top toy requests are, and she will take your questions for him via Twitter. Use the hashtag #WRALparade.

We'll also have the full parade broadcast on TV and starting at 10 a.m. You can watch also watch parades from previous years on demand any time on

By Saturday afternoon, we'll have a slideshow of images of the bands and performers and the parade crowd. If you go, share your photos to include them in our online gallery.


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  • tuyyoaqui Nov 14, 2011

    this town needs activities that include all its people, and a parade like this is good for that. It doesn't cost anything to go, it represents all of the community and can be a lift of the spirits to be out doors with others enjoying something that makes us mindful of peace and good will. It is great to get out, with children and to share some time seeing some creative entertainment. Scotty McCreery is a great young person with talent and he brings it! I wish he was riding the parade on our horse carriage , that would be a fine sight to see. I hope everyone has a wonderful experience, Let's all share the season. respect and love will help us all .

  • vraptor Nov 14, 2011

    Wow. We can still have a christmas parade??? Shouldn't it be a holiday parade??? So what are they calling xmas trees this year???

  • Jackbegood Nov 14, 2011

    Come On, Thanksgiving has even gotten here and past yet. But of course the merchants don't sell to much during Thanksgiving, as everyone is buying Xmas stuff so no Thanksgiving. I can not believe it.

  • Titus Pullo Nov 14, 2011

    You're right! I was in Raleigh today and the excitement was palpable. :0

  • archmaker Nov 14, 2011

    sorry, can't get excited about a christmas parade that happens BEFORE thanksgiving.

    give me one holiday at a sally brown says "i haven't even eaten all my halloween candy!"

  • Shelley Cooper Nov 14, 2011

    i hope he sings that song he knows

    you know, the one about girls, and trucks, and getting drunk the day his mom got out of prison

  • dwntwnboy Nov 14, 2011

    "more "happenings" about the kid from Garner"- is there any other local celeb any bigger this year? He's the flavor of the year, next year it will be someone else. They did the same thing for that Clay kid while he was still floundering around in the closet trying to find himself.

  • dwntwnboy Nov 14, 2011

    Ok, Macys may market it as a "thanksgiving" parade....but Santa is STILL the highlight at the end, and all the bands play holiday music and the costumes almost (but not all) have a seasonal theme to them....much like our little holiday parade here. Maybe we should just call it that- a "holiday" parade since people get all bent out of shape calling it a christmas parade so early. Happy Holiday Parade!! :-)

  • gallbury Nov 14, 2011

    Oh goody; more "happenings" about the kid from Garner. Maybe at the end of the parade he can go to sleep in a manger and have someone write a song about him.

  • Nicsnanni Nov 14, 2011

    I love the Christmas parade no matter when it is! Looking so forward to 4 generations of family gathering to snuggle,drink hot chocolate and watch for Santa!