Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Christmas Parade Contest

Posted November 14, 2007

What are your favorite memories of the WRAL-TV Raleigh Christmas Parade?

Answer that question and you could win a wonderful Christmas CD.  I will give a copy of the recently released "Have a Holly Raleigh Christmas" album to the blogger who comes up with the most interesting answer.

I will also mention the winning person's name and comments during Saturday's 63rd WRAL-TV Raleigh Christmas Parade broadcast.  Lynda Loveland and I will be co-hosting the broadcast beginning at 10:00A.M. along with our dancing and prancing roadside buddy Mark Roberts.

Maybe you have a funny story about first witnessing the parade as a child under a mountain of blankets.  Perhaps you have a poignant story about how the parade helps you forget your adult worries for a few hours and regain your childlike wonder.

Whatever it is about the Raleigh Christmas Parade that touches your heart or funny bone we want to hear about it here.

By the way, the album you could win features 14 tracks of new holiday music from area artists.  My contribution is "Wintercolors," the fourth track on the CD. 


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  • Nancy Nov 15, 2007

    As a marching band parent for Fuquay Varina High School, each year our band participated in the Raleigh Parade. I was one of the many volunteer parents who would march with the band to pick up dropped drum sticks if needed, anything that might need immediate help.

    The most fun was watching the road surface and making sure to yell out hazards, such as, "Dip, right", "Manhole cover, left" but our favorite and always amazing the kids didn't lose track on music or marching was when we had to yell "Poo, right!" (spelling for censor bot) as the horses were always placed before our band.

    And of course, those of us who marched with the band didn't really march along, we danced and sang along, making us feel like kids ourselves!

  • srt6 Nov 15, 2007

    My best memory of the parade was in 2004. My nephew had just been born in September, and he, along with my sister and her husband, were on a float portraying the Nativity scene. It was so sweet to see my little nephew on the float. Of course, it became rather humorous when he decided he had to eat right away while riding. So my nephew was riding down the streets of Raleigh, surrounded by wise men and shepherds with a bottle in his mouth.

  • MaplesMom Nov 15, 2007

    Hi Bill!
    Ok, my best memory was when I was in the parade. I was dating a fellow who drove one of those fancy low rider trucks and the truck club he was in was in the parade. I cam home from college the weekend of the parade and he asked if I wanted to ride with him. OF COURSE!!!! So we had a great time, as his was the prettiest truck. So I get back down to Pembroke, and all my friends where calling me a local celebrety. They saw me in the parade and said the close up was on ME, not the truck. (Lucky I was wearing my sorority letters!!!) It was fun and it is a memory that I will always hold near and dear to my heart. However, I must admit being partial to the Garner Christmas parade which I, in part, produced as a Garner Jaycee. I once got to drive Lynda Loveland, in a convertable, when she was our Grand Marshall.

  • melessaroney Nov 14, 2007

    Dear Bill,

    My fondest memory of the Raleigh Christmas Parade was in 1983 when I was a part of the Raleigh Safety Patrol from E.C. Brooks Elementary that marched in the parade that year.


    Melessa Wagoner

  • carolinagirl07 Nov 14, 2007

    I was born and raised in Raleigh and I remember going to the Christmas parade every year. The parade was at night and the Christmas lights were amazing to a young girl. We would park off of Downtown Blvd. and walk up to Hillsborough Street. But my most fond memory was when I was about 4 or 5 years old and my father took all of us to see the parade. I was sick that year. My mother wouldn't let me walk up to Hillsborough Street so my dad sat in the car with me. We were at least 3-4 blocks away and it was hard to really see any of the parade but we heard the sirens from the firetrucks so we new Santa was coming because back then Santa rode on the back of the firetruck. My dad got out of the car and held me in his arms so I could wave to Santa. I remember him telling me that Santa was waving back. I really thought he could see me and was really waving back. I will never forget that special parade that I had with my father who is no longer with us.

  • bleslie Nov 14, 2007

    Thanks for your memories! Here is another one from Raleigh's Roger Wiggs:

    "Here is my favorite Raleigh Christmas Parade memory for your blog Bill. I was in the Enloe Jr. High and Enloe Sr. High Marching Band, playing clarinet for first couple of years, then drums for the remainder, and each year we played the famous Raleigh Christmas Parade. Unfortunately, we always were placed behind the horses AND the great Ligon High School marching band. Our band director, Mr. Donald Cozart, was a former Marine Drill Instructor and he was very, very strict and traditional. He made us march in precision form and our drum cadences HAD to be real tight rolls and a set beat. While we always having to dodge the horses' road apples and follow the cool hip hop drum beats of the Ligon band. We always wanted to cut loose and jive, but there was no way with Mr. Cozart marching with us!"

  • blytle Nov 14, 2007

    I think the best part of my parade memories is that the Christmas Parade was held at night. We had several Christmas traditions and one of them was to attend the Parade. We would always stand out on the sidewalk on Hillsborough Street near the intersection with Glenwood Avenue. There on the corner was the Blue Tower diner. We would enjoy the parade and then my parents would take my brother and sister and me into the Blue Tower where we would sit at the counter and drink hot chocolate. What great times those were!

  • Raleighnative58 Nov 14, 2007

    I just love parades and I think that love was instilled in me at a very young age. My father would park our car on Hillsborough St. and mom would pick him up, go back home and get us kids, then head back down for the parade. I remember sitting on top of our station wagon many, many years, under many, many blankets. The parade was held at night and there were tons of lights. I also remember the parade being moved to daylight hours because of "incidents" associated with the parades, but I don't remember any of them being near us during the parade.
    I still go to the parade sometimes but love watching it from the comfort of home on TV.

  • thecatsmeow67 Nov 14, 2007

    Bill, I marched in the Raleigh Christmas Parade twice as a Marching Charger with Northwood High School back in the early 80's. It was so cold those two years but us kids were were so excited that we were going to be on TV. We went out and played our best and had a ball doing it. My fingers froze because playing a clarinet you have to cut the tips out of your gloves or you can't play your instrument. I will never forget those special times. Who says being in high school is not fun?

  • christisone Nov 14, 2007

    I rememeber as a child coming to the Christmas parade at night. It was just beauiful. The lights were strung across the street and all the lights were on. It was magical. It seemed so real. I loved the bands and all the beauiful floats. The best was when we would see santa coming down the street. My family and I come to the parade every year. We will see you there.
    PS new e-mail address




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