What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Holiday season kicks off with annual Raleigh Christmas Parade

Posted November 21, 2015

— Tens of thousands of people lined the streets of downtown Raleigh Saturday morning for the 71st annual WRAL Raleigh Christmas Parade, presented byShop Local Raleigh.

The parade wase hosted by WRAL-TV morning news personalities Bill Leslie and Renee Chou, with Brian Shrader serving as a street-side reporter.

This year’s parade included 115 entries, including marching bands, festive floats, giant balloons, animals, entertainers, specialty vehicles, plus special holiday surprises. And as always, a special North Pole visitor made an appearance at the end of the parade.

The parade route was 1.2 miles long, starting at the corner of Hillsborough and St. Mary’s streets. The parade traveled east on Hillsborough Street, turned south at the Capitol on Salisbury Street, east on Morgan and then made a final turn down Fayetteville Street.

This is the 42nd consecutive year that the event was broadcast live by WRAL-TV. The parade was also streamed live on WRAL.com and on the the WRAL News app, and viewers across North Carolina were able to watch the parade on UNC-EX.

The holiday fun wasn't going to stop when the parade ends.

The parade will be replayed on television Dec. 5, 12 and 19 at noon on WRAL2, plus a special holiday presentation on WRAL-TV at 4 p.m. on Christmas Day.

The parade also marks the kickoff of WRAL's annual Coats for the Children campaign -- the station's major holiday fundraising campaign for Salvation Army families. You can give online, via text, visiting drop-off centers or by calling in during our daylong telethon on Friday, Dec. 11. Learn more here on how to keep families warm, dry and happy this holiday season.


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  • Bryan Jeffries Nov 22, 2015
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    I've been wondering about this since I moved here in 2002. They're not very bright here.

  • Michael Mantych Nov 21, 2015
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    Charged with keeping the parade on schedule so it would end at noon and they could continue with their broad cast schedule which just happened to be the NC State Football game. What it boils down to is the almighty advertising dollar ruined what used to be a very enjoyable event. The Raleigh Christmas Parade used to be sponsored by The Raleigh Merchants Association which was also about the almighty advertising dollar but without time restraints. It is such a shame that every thing has become so commercialized that a parade becomes a 1.2 mile marathon that diminishes the entertainment aspect. Doubt I will ever attend another.

  • Michael Mantych Nov 21, 2015
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    I have been attending the Raleigh Christmas Parade since 1957. Admittedly, I have missed a few but have made most of them in that time. Today's parade was one of the worst if not the worst I have ever attended. We viewed the parade from the Capitol grounds on the Morgan St side. There was this little guy running up and down the street rushing the participants along. Dance troupes were running by not having time to dance, just run. Bands also were rushed through not being able to play, they could not even stay in formation. Lines were crooked and sometimes so mingled there was no formation. Two bands. Shaw University and Broughton High School, had members to fall out. EMS was called to the Broughton High School band member. The floats went by so fast it was impossible to view and enjoy them. I believe the little guy running up and down the street frantically waving the participants on and flashing a sign that read "Keep Moving" was an employee of Capitol Broadcasting Company

  • Wayne Douglas III Nov 21, 2015
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    Why do they have a Christmas parade, before Thanksgiving and not even in December? Do the powers that be in Raleigh, not know that Christmas is in December?