Local News

Raleigh woman hasn't missed the Christmas Parade in 38 years

Posted November 19, 2021 6:39 p.m. EST

— Lauren Metgzer hasn't missed a parade since she was born 38 years ago.

"The only one I've missed was last year, when it was virtually only," she said.

It all started with Lauren Metgzer's mom, when Lauren Metgzer was born the Friday before the Raleigh Christmas Parade in 1983.

"She started taking me every year, and I was probably 5 or 6 when I asked her when my birthday parade was going to be that year," she said.

Since then, the Raleigh Christmas Parade was known in her family as the Lauren Christmas parade.

For Lauren Metgzer's husband, Josh Metgzer, it was quite the holiday surprise.

"I didn't realize how deep the tradition was, the level of commitment," Josh Metgzer said.

Lauren Metgzer's mother put together a scrapbook about her Christmas parade experience and in it is a picture of WRAL News interviewing  Lauren in 2001 on her 18th birthday.

Back in 2003, at the height of Clay Aiken's popularity, Lauren Metgzer's mom slept in her van overnight, to make sure they had a spot on Hillsborough Street. A record crowd came out that year when Aiken was Grand Marshal of the parade.

Her mother passed away in 2009. Lauren Metgzer said continuing this yearly tradition is a tribute to her mom's memory and the legacy she nurtured for the family.

"On my birthday and on the Christmas Parade, I always feel a little heaviness," Lauren Metgzer said.

"As things progress, I start to feel the excitement of it all, and the excitement that she must have felt as a mom, watching me," she said. "And then I get to live that through with my kids."

Josh Metgzer will be out bright and early Saturday morning, staking out their usual location.

Our commenting policy has changed. If you would like to comment, please share on social media using the icons below and comment there.