Christmas parade to step off under sunny skies

Posted November 16, 2012 6:13 p.m. EST
Updated November 17, 2012 9:21 a.m. EST

— The biggest holiday parade between Washington, D.C., and Atlanta is expected to draw 50,000 people or more Saturday morning to the streets of downtown Raleigh. The WRAL-TV Raleigh Christmas Parade, presented by the Shop Local Raleigh, marks the local kickoff of the holiday season. 

Those who choose to watch the parade in person will be greeted by sunny skies, but the air will carry the chill appropriate for late November, WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said. Temperatures will be in the 40s when the parade steps off at 10 a.m. and climb into the 50s by its end.

"Make sure you are well bundled since you will be exposed to the elements for quite some time, plus the winds will tend to kick up from 5 to 15 mph at times," Fishel said. 

WRAL-TV morning news personalities Bill Leslie and Kelcey Carlson will host the television broadcast, and Brian Shrader will report from street-side with the participants and spectators.

Participate in the parade: Whether you watch from the street, on TV, on the computer or some combination, we love to share the Christmas parade with you. 

Now in its 68th year, the parade will feature over 115 entries, including fantastic floats, super-sized balloons, marching bands, entertainers, animals, specialty vehicles and the arrival of Santa Claus.

"American Idol" participant and North Carolina native Emily Minor will be the grand marshal.

The parade route is 1.2 miles long, starting at the corner of Hillsborough and St. Mary’s Street. The parade travels east on Hillsborough Street, turns south at the Capitol on Salisbury Street, east on Morgan and then makes a final turn down Fayetteville Street.

All downtown parking garages will be open and free Saturday morning to accommodate the crowds.