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Parade Spectators Advised To Arrive Early, Bring Patience

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RALEIGH, N.C. — People who are going to attend Saturday's Raleigh Christmas Parade are being asked to bring a lot of patience with them.

A change in the route and a lot of no parking zones could turn the whole affair into a less-than-enjoyable day.

Construction on the Hillsborough Street bridge at Glenwood Avenue will move the beginning of the parade route over onto Morgan street. But that's just one hurdle to Saturday's event.

Three major events are all happening the same day, and that's going to put a squeeze on parking.

As police put up No Parking signs on Friday, they braced for the impact of the parade and Saturday's day-long Christmas Show at the Convention Center.

Add to the activity a Saturday afternoon football game between N.C. State and Florida State at Carter-Finley Stadium, and police say it'll be no parade.

"We are expecting an influx of visitors to our area, a lot of people who are not from here and may not be familiar with the Raleigh area," said Lt. Terry Hardy of the Raleigh Police Department. "So we're just asking for patience. Adhere to officers' directional signals and the detour signs and drive carefully."

WRAL-TV and the Greater Raleigh Merchants Association present the 58th Annual parade, which is scheduled to run from 10 a.m. to noon.

Saturday's parade features 150 entries, including bands, floats, twirlers, dancers, walking units, and, of course, a visit from Santa Claus.

Sen. Jesse Helms will serve as grand marshal.

Lt. Hardy had an answer for people wondering where the best place to park will be, given the new route, the big crowd and the limited available parking spots.

"I would suggest they come early to downtown Raleigh," Hardy said. "Get in before the detour routes actually take effect. We do have ample parking in downtown. A lot of the state parking lots will be open."

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