The 79th Raleigh Christmas Parade will take place on Nov. 18 this year with festivities beginning at 9:30 a.m. in Downtown Raleigh to kick off the holiday season.
When Raleigh officials first began discussing the parade for this year, Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin and other city officials planned to deny the special event permit. This was due to the tragic events of the 2022 Christmas Parade, where 11-year-old Hailey Brooks was dancing with CC & Company Dance Complex when she was struck by a pickup truck that lost its brake control.
The city of Raleigh stated that they canceled the parade due to “an abundance of caution for parade participants and spectators, as well as respect for Hailey Brooks’ family and friends.” After learning of the parade cancellation, The Brooks’ family attorney stated that the family was not consulted and that they do not agree with the plans to cancel the event. "If consulted, the Brooks family would have urged the city to proceed with the Parade after implementing basic, common-sense safety protocols that should have been in place in 2022, such as those proposed in the ‘Shine Like Hailey Parade Safety Act.’”
The “Shine Like Hailey Parade Safety Act” pertains to specific safety measures for parade vehicles. The requirements include “(1) that, no earlier than seven days before the date of the parade, the police department or fire department inspects each motor vehicle for safety and verifies that the vehicle is registered and insured; and (2) the operator of the motor vehicle is at least 25 years of age and has a valid driver's license.”
Less than 24 hours after the permit was denied for the parade to occur, city officials and parade organizers met to approve a new offer. In a statement by the Greater Raleigh Merchants Association and Shop Local Raleigh, they said, “The event will feature marching bands, performers, costume characters, horses, dog rescues, giant balloons, musical acts and more!!” They also added that “The 2023 event will not include motorized vehicles or floats, but still promises to be one that's entertaining for all ages.”
The Raleigh Christmas parade is set to be televised on ABC11 with an estimated crowd of 80,000 lining the streets of Downtown Raleigh. visitRaleigh notes that The Raleigh Christmas Parade is the largest holiday parade between the cities of Atlanta and Washington DC.
The holiday tradition is set to feature more than 115 groups of marching bands, dance groups, festive balloons and more according to visitRaleigh.
By: Haileigh West, Associate Editor
Graphic by: Shae-Lynn Henderson, EIC