Local News

Parade preparations nearly complete

Posted November 21, 2008 9:36 p.m. EST
Updated November 22, 2008 10:25 a.m. EST

— Preparations were nearly complete late Friday for the Raleigh Christmas Parade.

The 64th annual WRAL Raleigh Christmas Parade on Saturday is expected to be the coldest since 1980, according to WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel.

Temperatures will start out in the low 20s, rising to around 30 degrees by the 9:30 a.m. start of the parade. Wind chills are expected to be in the low 20s early Saturday.

With temperatures expected near the freezing mark, coffee shops along the parade route are preparing for a busy day.

The Oxford, which recently opened in the location previously occupied by Yancy’s restaurant on Fayetteville Street, will be opening an hour early to serve hot chocolate, coffee and croissants to chilly parade goers.

“We have everyone that works for us, plus some that will work just that day. It’s going to be pretty busy - we hope anyway,” The Oxford’s Lauren Jannik said.

City Java, also on Fayetteville Street, is also preparing for the parade.

“It’s going to be really packed. Lines are going to be out the door,” Tia Bethea, of City Java, said.

Approximately 60,000 people normally line the 1.2 mile parade route, which starts at 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 onto Fayetteville Street.

Four helium balloons will be featured in the parade this year, organizers said.

Raleigh resident Nikia Sharp went shopping to get her children prepared for the parade.

“I’ve already bought new scarves and toboggans so they’re ready,” Sharp said.

“Go out and buy some sweaters. Feed the economy and make yourself look cute. Let’s all have fun, watch, get close together and be a family,” Raleigh Merchants Association Director Susan Thompson said.

Some people said Friday that the cold weather will keep them away from the route.

“I’m going to stay home where it’s nice and warm and maybe watch it on TV,” Raleigh resident Chrissie Korovu said.